This World is Not Our Home

This World is Not Our Home

by Fr. Zechariah Lynch
“Many lose their true home because they have greater love for the road that leads them there. Let us not love the road rather than our home, in case we should lose our eternal home … Let us keep to this principle, therefore, that we should live as travelers and pilgrims on the road … free of lusts and earthly desires, but let us fill our mind with heavenly and spiritual forms,” St. Columbanus.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15). True Christianity is a renunciation of the ways of the fallen world. A Christian is one who has been chosen out of this world. Like our Master, we must be “not of this world” (cf. Jn 15:19). This fallen system of the world is not our home, “For here we have no abiding city, but we seek the one to come” (Heb. 13:14). Since this is the true state of things for a Christian, he must be ever ready to flee from this world, as Lot did from Sodom. By fleeing from the fallen world a person is freed from the desire for the world. For the Christian, authentic flight from the world is a running to Christ Jesus. To know Christ in Truth, the heart must be freed from bondage to sin and the world. This freedom makes room in the heart for the Holy Spirit to dwell, for if a man’s heart is already full then there is no place in it for the Holy Spirit. The heart must be single and undivided, serving but one master (Cf. Matt. 7:24). “The Spirit,” St. Basil the Great teaches, “does not take up His abode in someone’s life through physical approach; how could a corporeal being approach the Bodiless one? Instead, the Spirit comes to us when we withdrawal ourselves from evil passions, which have crept into the soul through its friendship with the flesh, alienating us from close relationship with God.”[1]
Grace is a gift of God; it is only received by those who respond to Him. When the inner heart of man responds to the calling of divine grace, he rises up seeking the One who has touched him; then the Spirit lifts the heart upward. The Holy Spirit, seeing the response and effort of the believer, then sends even more grace: “For whenever the Lord sees anyone courageously turning away from the pleasures, distractions, the crass cares and worldly ties, from the preoccupation of vain reveries, He gives him His special help of grace and protects the soul that unwaveringly journeys courageously through the present corrupt world,” teaches St. Macarius.[2] St. Macarius the Great, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies ,4. 4, p. 51.))
To abide in the grace of the Holy Spirit the believer must continually strive to be divesting himself of love and attachment to the false pleasures of this world, otherwise, they will act as a ‘ball and chain’ preventing him from growing in the life of Christ.[3] St. Ignatius of Antioch even councils, “Do not talk about Jesus Christ while you desire the world.”[4] St. Gregory of Nyssa also teaches, “The love of God arises from what is opposed to carnal desire.”[5]
Sin opposes the grace of God. By indulging in sin, a man unites himself to that which is contrary to God and true life. Man can only be united in one union; thus it is impossible for him to seek and desire both the false pleasures of this world – sin – and God. St. Dimitry of Rostov teaches, According to the words of the apostle, the one who clings to the Lord is one spirit with the Lord, so, in a similar manner, the one who clings to demons is one spirit with the demons. An evil person is the same as a demon, for he who unites himself to demons becomes of one spirit with demons.[6]
The move away from sin simultaneously becomes movement towards Jesus Christ; entering the way of Christ entails the rejection of this fallen world and all its ways. Just as in a marriage it is impossible to be called faithful while engaging in intimate relations with another, so the soul that loves the world and is engaged with it, cannot become known to Christ. Christ cannot know the soul that loves the world. Love of the world is enmity with Christ the Lord (cf. James 4:4). The soul having professed unity and faithfulness to God in Holy Baptism and Chrismation has become a bride of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:22ff). As a bride sets herself apart exclusively for her beloved, so should the Christian soul be set apart and distinguished from the ways of the world.
St. Gregory Palamas instructs: “How do you think we can distinguish between believers and unbelievers, the illuminated and the unenlightened, that is to say, between those baptized as Christians and belonging to Christ, and those who are unbaptized and in the devil’s ranks? Is it not by their works? Is it not by their deeds? Is it not by their ways?” [7] And St. Macarius the Great teaches: “The world of Christians is of a special kind, their style of living, their thinking, their speech, and all their actions. That of this world is completely different. There is a great difference between them.”[8]
To flee from the mentalities and ways of the fallen world is a conscious choice, one that must be lived out daily.[9] Thus, the Apostolic command is to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph. 4:23). This renewal is an energy of the Holy Spirit, but it also demands our active desire to not be conformed to the world, “And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). The temptation of the world does not cease; therefore the believer must make a continued, active, and conscious commitment to Christ every day and every hour. St. Herman of Alaska reminds us, “For our good, for our happiness, let us at least make ourselves a vow: that from this day, from this hour, from this minute, we shall strive to love God above all and do His commandments.”[10]
For the believer, flight from the world in most cases does not entail a literal or physical withdrawal. The challenge for most true Christians is to live in the world but not be of the spirit of the fallen world.[11] The believer sets himself apart from the world by the manner in which he lives, reasons, and manifests the grace of the Spirit from within his heart. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos counsels:
Every day you should try to plant in your soul something spiritual, which will eject something worldly and sinful … Replace the sinful images in your mind with holy ones. Replace songs with hymns, worldly magazines with spiritual books. If you do not break away from all that is worldly and sinful, if you do not commune with Christ, with Panaghia, with the Saints, with the Church Triumphant, and if you do not place yourself completely in the hands of God, you will not acquire spiritual health.[12]
Thus, any form of Christianity that seeks to appease the fallen world and cultivate harmony and fraternity with it, is making itself an enemy of God, as the Apostle James clearly teaches. For in desiring to please men it ceases to be a servant of Christ (cf. Gal. 1:10) and furthermore ceases to be anything remotely Christian.
As believers in Christ, we must be convinced of the emptiness of the world so that we may progress in God. When the eyes of the heart begin to be opened by divine grace they perceive that which is true and real and that which is false and illusory. The Christian heart that becomes more and more aware of the fruitlessness of this fallen world, turns more ardently to God. Having been awakened by grace, a Christian must make a free decision to increase in grace, adding grace to grace.[13] By realizing the void of mortal worldly living, the soul progresses into repentance: “Repentance does not come readily to a carnal man; and none of us fathoms the problem of sin which is only disclosed to us through Christ and the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit is an event of supreme importance,” teaches St. Sophrony.[14]
By having the light of grace begin to shine in the heart, a person begins to understand in what darkness he was dwelling. Flight from the world is bound to repentance. Through repentance, the heart of man mourns his unfaithfulness and sin. Repentance is a gift of the Spirit bringing man to regeneration, turning him from darkness to light. Repentance is the renewal and continuation of baptism, an essential change, a turning from death to life, from non-being to being; “a contract with God for a fresh start in life … It is the purification of conscience and the voluntary endurance of affliction … Repentance is a cheerful renunciation of every creature comfort” as St. John Climacus preaches.[15]
The believer who seeks the Holy Spirit in his life is called to live continuously in repentance; this whole earthly life is given as an opportunity to repent. St, Clement proclaims, “While we are yet on earth let us repent. For we are clay in the Craftsman’s hand … While we still have time to be healed, let us place ourselves in the hands of God the Physician, and pay Him what is due. What is that? Sincere, heartfelt repentance … Let us wipe off from ourselves our former sins and be saved, repenting from the very souls of our being.”[16] The grace of the Spirit is given to those who seek it. Repentance is the seeking of grace and its acquisition. It is an active and willful flight from this fallen world. Just as a man once voluntarily chose the life of sin, so in repentance he voluntarily chooses life in God – “Voluntarily have I sinned before Thee, yet voluntarily do I also repent,” sings St. Issac the Syrian.[17]
Such a one gratefully submits his life in repentance to the Lord, knowing that he shall be raised up a son and heir of the Kingdom of Heaven. St. Symeon the New Theologian reveals: As many as have endured the corrections of their own Father and Master, like grateful servants and sons, say: ‘I will bear the Lord’s punishment because I have sinned before Him,’ and another key: ‘The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us’ [Rom. 8:18]. Thus … they abide their daily correction and constant penitence, not shying away from it or becoming annoyed by it, but, disciplined … they abide in the Father’s house, radiantly clothed, eating at the Father’s table, beholding His glory and the wealth which they will come to inherit.[18]
If Christianity ceases to call people to repentance it ceases to be truly Christian. The emerging repentance-less “christianity” is a false gospel. Its concern is for this world and the things of this world. It exploits Christian constructs but denies the essential Truth of Christ Jesus.
In repentance, a Christian comes to behold the perfect beauty and purity of God, while His light reveals the filthy darkness of his works of sin. Repentance is not a morbid fixation on sin, filled with gloom and despair. It is not legalistic appeasement of God. Repentance should not be reduced to emotional experience, intellectual concession, or mechanical change: it is the realization of truth. When we sin we fill our hearts with emptiness, darkness, and death. By repentance, man declares war on his own sin. Repentance is a deep cleaning; throwing wide the windows of our heart, letting the Son of righteousness shine in, which is placing our life in the hands of God. It is healing for the soul of man, therapeutic restoration; the complete renewal of man’s being: “Grant me, grant to this needy, grant to this wretch the grace to reject all perversity from my soul … Give me humility, give me a helping hand, purify the impurity of my soul and grant me tears of repentance, tears of regret, tears of salvation, tears which will dispel the darkness from my intellect and which will make me shine with heavenly brightness,” as proclaims St. Symeon.[19]
This fallen world is not our home. May we find the path to our true Fatherland through heartfelt repentance in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Originally posted on inklesspen.blog and at patrisicfaith.com
About the author

Fr. Zechariah Lynch
My name is Zechariah Lynch. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am an Orthodox priest. I have freely given myself to be influenced and guided by the Orthodox Faith: it is the main foundation upon which I will endeavor to base my thoughts and observations for this blog.I believe in things like Truth, Goodness, and Beauty; that humanity is subject to higher principles. Ultimately I believe in God.I will be mixing the proverbial “religion and politics.” I will also simply be reflecting on various issues of life. Sometimes everyday things; sometimes global events. An organic and cohesive philosophy spans all aspects of life. Everyone has a “philosophy” for life. But I am not a relativist, thus I do not think that all ideas are true and equal. Although ideas they may be.My articles are my thoughts and opinions. Although, as stated above, I have diligently sought to guide them by the standard of Orthodox Christianity.My writing credentials do not come from the fact that I have an M.Div, for instance. My credentials remain in the fact that I am striving to base my thoughts and way of life upon the Revelation of the Holy Trinity as given to the Eklessia. Or in the words of Fr. Seraphim (Rose), “Far be it from me to presume to speak for the Church; but I can at least speak of some of the things I think I have learned from Her.”This Revelation is very objective. Humanity has not been left without standards. God revealed Himself by becoming Man. He left us the Church, His Body, as the “pillar and ground of truth” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15); we have the testimony of Jesus Christ and the Apostles – the Scriptures. We have a two thousand year experience of Christian living and teaching (tradition). These are all very concrete and empirical.
References
↑1St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, 9. 23, p. 44.↑2, ↑3Cf. St. Gregory Palamas, The Homilies, 44. 9, pp. 351-352. St. Maximos the Confessor teaches: “As a little sparrow whose foot is tied tries to fly but is pulled to earth by the cord to which it is bound, so does the mind which does not yet possess detachment get pulled down and dragged to earth when it flies to the knowledge of heavenly things.” First Century on Love, 85,in The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 63. “The prince of evil holds all people engrossed in earthly concerns. By these concerns he disturbs people, keeps them anxious and in a state of nervous motion. The result is that they are disturbed by vain thoughts and base passions and are in bondage to earthly attachments to this world. Satan constantly holds them as captives.” St. Macarius the Great, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies , 5. 2,p. 63.↑4St. Ignatius of Antioch, To The Romans, 7, in The Apostolic Fathers, pp. 104-105.↑5St. Gregory of Nyssa. Commentary on the Song of Songs, trans. C. McCambley, Brookline, 1987, p. 135.↑6St. Dimitry of Rostov, Instructions on the Path of Virtue, p. 14-15↑7St. Gregory Palamas, The Homilies, 30. 11, p. 240.↑8St. Macarius the Great, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies, 5. 1,p. 63.↑9“Examine yourself daily in the sight of God, and discover which of the passions is in your heart. Cast it out, and so escape his judgments.” St. Isaiah the Solitary, On Guarding the Intellect, 20, trans. G. Palmer, P. Sherrard, K. Ware, in The Philokalia vol. 1, London, 1983, p. 26.↑10St. Herman, The Little Russian Philokalia, vol 3, Platina, 1988, p. 108.↑11Cf. John 17: 11, 19; 1 John 2: 15-17.↑12Elder Paisios, Spiritual Awakening, trans. P. Chamberas, Thessaloniki, 2008, pp. 104-105.↑13“The soul is united in will with whatever it is joined and bound to as its master. Either it has, therefore, the light of God in it and lives in that light with all of his powers, abounding with a restful light, or it is permeated by the darkness of sin, becoming a sharer in condemnation … The soul that truly tends toward the Lord completely forces itself to love Him. It is held fast in a willed dedication, as far as possible, to God alone. From Him it obtains the help of grace.” St. Macarius the Great, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies, 1. 8, 5. 6,pp. 41, 68.↑14Elder Sophrony, His Life is Mine, p. 42.↑15St. John Climacus. The Ladder of Divine Ascent, trans. C. Luibheid, New York, 1982, pp. 121, 136.↑16St. Clement of Rome, Second Letter of St. Clement, 8, 9, 13, in The Apostolic Fathers, pp. 71, 72, 74.↑17Cf. St. Issac the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter, trans. A. Janda, Liberty, 1997, p. 43.↑18St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life, vol. 2, p. 23.↑19St. Symeon the New Theologian, Hymns of Divine Love, 4. pp. 23-24.

Give Me Your Germs

by Kevin Cullen
Entering into a country isn’t as straightforward as presenting a border agent with your passport (and these days—a PCR test) and traipsing through customs at the airport. That process, the physical act of crossing a border, is merely a shadow of another, more profound crossing that happens on some other less tangible plane of reality.
What does it really mean then to enter into a country? The surface-dwelling visitor (i.e. the tourist) is content to know the physical geography of a place; its ski slopes and hiking trails, its coastlines, beaches and museums. But authentic immersion requires somehow penetrating to a more subterranean, treacherous strata of national topography and attractions; that of a nation’s collective unconscious. It means charting the peaks and valleys of a nation’s neuroses, its hinterlands of domestic ecstasies, its marshlands of child-eyed dreams and despair. It means finding that basement bar hidden beneath the basement bar, where its ancient epics and folklore and ballads are secretly brewed.

Three months into my immersionship now, I’m often asking myself how far I’ve progressed into those heavily fortified chambers of the Georgian psyche, the Georgian soul. Indeed, I’ve been invited into many Georgian lives. I’ve shared many a dinner, a coffee and wine with an array of locals and have established a modest but respectable circle of friends. And yes, I’ve made progress in learning the language (though I still struggle to growl a ‘ღ’ or gargle a ‘ყ’).
But still, I find myself wishing I had a firmer grasp of the place, as though I still haven’t fully entered into Deda Sakartvelo (‘Mother Georgia’). I still feel an awkward distance between me and her.
And I’ve been wondering why that is.

My initial instinct was to ascribe this to ‘mountain culture’. The seeming impenetrability of mountain cultures—shrouded as they are in mist and mystery as much as the mountains that birth them—is a universal phenomenon. Georgia is a mountain country. And Akhaltsikhe is a mountain town in that mountain country. This is mountain culture squared.

I mulled that possibility over for a while. But that wasn’t quite it. There was something else shrouding this town, preventing me from fully apprehending it.
I spent weeks tracing the contours of that veil, trying to put it into words.
It wasn’t until I stopped thinking it finally became clear. It was all too obvious. It was this: The Spectre of a New Disease.

An eye-roll may be deserved here, yes, even a yawn. Is there any escape from the Covid chatter and blather, from the digressions and screeds, from the Covid theme itself?I wish there were. 
Like you, I’m tired of it. Like you, I would prefer another theme. 
But here, in Akhaltsikhe, there seems to be very little escape. It’s something we are confronted with hamfistedly wherever we are; the disease itself, sure, but more obviously this newly implemented, globalised system of urban semiotics—Green Pass signage, social distancing reminders stenciled on the footpaths and, most visibly, outdoor mask mandates. And so, in its omnipresence and with the weight of law behind it, this new system of signs and symbols demand we be ever-aware and ever-attentive to the mere idea of disease—no matter what we’re doing, where we are, who we are with (or not with).To illustrate: There’s an abandoned junkyard in a desolate area of town where me and an Armenian woman and a Georgian truck driver take turns feeding a litter of recently-born street puppies. Just the other day while out there on my own, the only soul in sight, the patrol police pounced on me, issuing me a ticket for being without a mask. I tried to reason with them—there’s no one out here, not a soul in sight, surely this isn’t reasonable?No use.The message was clear: No matter what, no matter where—you are not permitted to forget the disease.
So as much as I’d like to and try as I might (and as much as you’d like me to)—moving on, changing the topic, forgetting, in Akhaltsikhe, well, it’s just not possible.You might even say it’s against the law.

But what does this have to do with entering into a place?Simply put, no matter how many times you’ve done it, it never ceases to be a strange feeling, landing up in a strange town in a faraway land; disorienting, to say the least. There’s always an initial sense of alienation, or strangeness that must be overcome.

But now, compounding that general relocation disorientation, that strangeness, is a landscape bereft of the human face.I wander these lunar streets day after day, I trudge through muddy back alleys, pass through lanes of decaying grey-faced buildings, the weather getting colder, the days getting shorter and darker—simply longing to know this town, to read the poetry written in the contours of its many human faces.But behind the veil, they all seem censored somehow, their best verses deleted.I teach a group of students at the church, and half of them, I could not identify in a bare-faced photo. How strange it is to meet these students several times a week, to laugh with them and learn with them and be amongst them and yet not know their likeness?My fellow parishioners at church too, the vast majority, neither have I seen their faces. I pass them on the street, I’m sure I do, but I’m never quite sure who is who, who is saying hello, if I should say hello, because, after all, all these anonymised faces look the same. Is that him? Is that her? Is that so and so? Who is that staring at me? Oh, I’m sorry, George! I didn’t recognise you, because, well…

It’s in these moments I’ve begun to understand the necessity of the human face for bonding, for communing, for interfacing, for overcoming those initial feelings of alienation and strangeness.

And not just the face, but the hands too—the handshake. That universal gesture of goodwill and connection, which, at its deepest level, serves to demonstrate I’m not armed. That too, along with the face, seems to have been erased under this new global semiotic regime, being supplanted by the awkward fistbump.Never before had I pondered all the ways in which a naked human hand clasping another naked human hand was profoundly necessary for communing and connecting and welcoming—until it was taken away. The handshake is open, it is honest and intimate. On its deepest level, it says “I am comfortable sharing germs with you.”The fistbump—two closed fists punching one another—is its opposite in every way. At best it says, “I fear what is on your hands.”At worst it says, “I am armed.”

A week or so ago was my host sister’s birthday. Normally, this would have called for a Supra, a dinner with many guests, flowing libations and endless toasts. But this year? Nada. ‘No Supra this year for Mari,’ my host mother tells me. ‘Covid…’

Not content binding our faces and hands, Covid seems to have also engendered a common superstition that the mere act of congregating is sufficient enough incantation to summon its ghost.

‘For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.’ Covid 20:19

All of these seemingly arbitrary rituals I once took for granted when living in new countries—seeing denizens face to face, smiling as I pass an acquaintance on the street, shaking hands with new people and familiar friends, gathering for festive occasions—only now in their absence does their vitality and function and meaning come into stark relief.  

In every way, the spectre of Covid has become an anti-ritual, an anti-communion, an anti-human system, decimating all those small yet significant ways in which our societies come together, in which the multitude emerges into one. It maliciously alters the very source code of society and perhaps nowhere more violently and visibly than a small, traditional, old-world town like Akhaltsikhe.

And that’s exactly what it is, what has put a pane of glass between me and fully entering into Akhaltsikhe—the loss of those small rituals, the totality of which constitutes our everyday urban liturgy. And it is by participating in that seemingly mundane yet immeasurably profound liturgy that we come to enter into a place, join its ongoing dance, become part of it.

But now there’s a wall separating me, separating us all from that liturgy. How shall we call it then? The Great Wall of Covid?

No matter, the question still stands: How shall I step through that glass? How shall I climb that wall?

Because if I were to tell Mother Georgia the truth, this is what I would say:

I want your germs. I want your diseases. I want to be dirty with whatever makes you dirty. To be human is to be dirty, and to be dirty is human. Let’s be human together. I want to share your air and whatever may linger in that air. I have not dwelt in you until you have dwelt in me—my blood and lungs and intestines. Your parasites and microbes and bacteria: Give it to me, give it all. Sterility is the enemy of life. Let’s be alive together.

Originally published January 14, 2022, at First Things Foundation

Kevin Cullen is an Orthodox Christian and a field worker for the non-profit organization First Things Foundation, writing from the Republic of Georgia. First Things Foundation sends individuals to the “old world” for two years. Field workers immerse into pre-enlightenment ways of life, learn the local dialects and customs, and in turn give momentum to the ideas of local entrepreneurs, or “impresarios”. In this blog, originally posted on the First Things Foundation website, Kevin voices his frustrations with “Mother Georgia” and its heavy-handed Covid policies, even as he tries to immerse himself into the “social liturgy” of the country. To learn more about First Things Foundation, go to their website here or check out Why Are We Talking About Rabbits, a podcast and YouTube channel by the foundation’s director, John Heers.

Come Home, Y’all

by Rebecca “Ilia” Dillingham
Each of us has ancestors, both physical and spiritual, who gave us [our] language, culture and, most importantly, [our] faith …To lose touch with that past, with those ancestors, means to become spiritually dry.— His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia
Some say that Orthodoxy suffers from a lack of converts here in America. While the faith of the One, True Church is shrinking in some ethnic enclaves of the Northeast and stagnating in other regions of the country, Orthodoxy is alive and growing here in the South. That’s because the people of Dixie are steeped in faith. It’s in our blood.
When it comes to religion, the postbellum American South has been called many things. “Christ haunted” by Flannery O’Connor and “peculiarly Christian” by W.J. Cash. Richard M. Weaver said it was a land of “older religiousness” marked with a “noncreedal faith,” and H.L. Mencken disparagingly pegged it “the Bible Belt.”
None of these descriptives seem too promising at first glimpse, but upon closer inspection they elucidate the fact that Southerners speak a language touched by the Gospels. We walk in a land paved by God-fearing men and live by folkways crafted by Scripture. These traits may sometimes seem distant, but they remain enigmatically familiar. We are a remnant who are used to Christ, yet too many are still yearning to be reconciled with Him. Why?
Well, in a word: history. The South was not only subjected to military invasion, conquest, and occupation, perpetual economic attacks, political disenfranchisement, and an assault on the localist agrarian way of life, but there was (and is) a religious war being waged on the Southern spirit. This reconstruction is meant to replace God and nature with secularism, scientism, and materialism, and human-scale living with identityless-ness. Today, we would call this cultural Marxism, or more precisely, Southern cultural genocide.
However, because Christianity is our inheritance, the South has endured. The quiet piety innate in the Southern character has given this land and her people a durability in spite of the mercantile and humanist onslaught. Our roots are sturdy, but our branches are weak and our leaves are withered.
We may have gotten Jesus right, but unfortunately, we got Church wrong. Our namesake, Philip Ludwell III realized that too, and this in Colonial times, well before the Unitarian, Transcendental, and Rationalist philosophies forced their way down South. A native Virginian who was kin to some of the Southland’s greatest men, like George Washington and Robert E. Lee, Ludwell was received into Eastern Orthodox Christianity in 1738, making him the first known Orthodox convert in the Americas.
Ludwell practiced his faith in secrecy and solitude while serving in the House of Burgesses, serving in the Royal Governors Council, and living amongst his mostly Anglican or Deist contemporaries. Still, he remained faithful to the Church, leading his daughters to Orthodox conversion on Holy Wednesday 1762. The colonel (a militia title in Colonial Virginia) even translated into English a catechism, and some Liturgical and confessional services and prayers.
Like Ludwell, our Southron brothers and sisters have a nonconformist strength, which will benefit us in defending the ancient faith in our post-Christian world. We were never the majority historically and are most certainly outcasts now. Foreigners in our own land, thus, we’ve built up an armor that bodes well for evangelizing in our increasingly pluralistic and spiritually fruitless society.
Just as the War gave varied people groups throughout Dixie a national consciousness, the Southern experience has equipped her people with spiritual ammunition. It’s much harder to break a people who are used to suffering but only if they’re encouraged to be stout, not self-loathing; vigilant, not prideful; thankful, not shameful; bold, not complacent.
Just as a battle-worn identity is our heritage, so too are virtue, honor, and duty. We respect tradition, history, and ancestry, and believe in godly authority, hierarchy, and decentralization. We natives seek venerable “old-time” truths, not popular feel-good fictions. Our customs fully balance self-reliance and surrender, self-interest and selflessness, the individual and the collective. So many Orthodox elements already resonate deep within Dixie’s culture.
This is why the Southern identity can be used as a tool to sow the seeds of Orthodox Christian identity, while Orthodoxy can help to protect our hospitable and historic homeland. These are not mutually exclusive identities at all, for they can work in concert – a symbiosis uniting the divine and universal with the Southron spirit. As St. Tikhon of Moscow said, the Orthodox Faith is “the best and most reliable way to preserve and support your national character.”
So, let’s baptize what’s here. Let’s bring Orthodoxy to the “Southern nation” and consequently endow that tradition as a healthy and organic expression, not a theoretical idea. Just like when Jesus talked to the woman at the well of Jacob (Photine of Samaria) and stressed His belonging to the Jewish nation as to better communicate His words, we Orthodox Southerners will speak the language of our fellow Dixians. The often shallow cup of immigrant missionaries simply cannot help to quench a people’s thirst for truth as lovingly as can kinfolk.
Be awake, aware, informed. Don’t keep Orthodoxy to yourself as though it were some private treasure. Share it!— Father Seraphim Rose
I heard it said by a priest once that Orthodoxy propagates in the South like a native plant. So, let’s regenerate our people back to Christ. Let’s illumine them to the authentic Church and foster true reconciliation. Let’s tend to our fig tree (or in Dixie’s case, perhaps it’s a black walnut, black gum, persimmon, peach, or pecan tree), bring forth the spiritual fruits thereof, and protect our beloved Southland that has for so long nurtured these roots. It’s time to come home, y’all.

Deo vindice.
Originally published April 30, 2021, at Dissident Mama.Also, on November 21, 2021, at Ludwell Orthodox Fellowship.
Rebecca “Ilia” Dillingham runs the blog and podcast Dissident Mama, where she describes herself as a “Truth warrior, Jesus follower, wife, boymom, and lifelong learner. Apologetics practitioner for Orthodox Christianity, the Southern tradition, homeschooling, and freedom.” She is a native of Richmond, Virginia, and earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ilia and her husband and three sons were chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church in 2017 and are currently parishioners of St. Thomas Russian Orthodox Mission in the Piedmont region of the Tarheel State. She can also be found on Gab at her personal page and that of the LOF foundation.

Faith Over Fear

by Dr. Alan Bradford, NMD, ADS
We have just finished celebrating the Christmas season. The nativity story is fresh in our minds. Maybe the decorations are still displayed in our homes. The first words from heaven that would herald the birth of our Savior were from the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary:“Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30)
A similar greeting was extended to the husband of her cousin, announcing the birth of theBaptist, who would prepare the way for Jesus:“Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” (Luke 1:13)
Months later, this same heavenly greeting was extended to the shepherds, watching their flocks:“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

When I think of Christlike attributes, the typical list comes to mind: faith, hope, charity, patience, humility, and obedience. So it is odd to read when Christ cautioned his disciples:“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Matthew 10:34-35)At first pass, this may seem out of character for The Prince of Peace. He was known to channel his disgust into a leather whip and overturned merchant tables within the temple walls. These merchants were defiling the temple, turning the house of God into a marketplace, and Jesus defended it boldly. These two scriptural accounts display a dimension of Jesus that is seldom talked about. While I would never associate violence with Jesus, this does give a glimpse into what it means to exercise righteous indignation. Jesus also reminded us that: “[he was not] come to destroy the law, or the prophets…but to fulfill.” Sometimes in order to plant a new crop, however, you have to harrow up the field. You have to remove the overgrown weeds and rocks, and nourish the soil that has gone barren.
Jesus was revolutionary. A disruptive push against the status quo. A threat to the existing religious and secular leadership. A breath of fresh air in a world stagnating in the wicked traditions of their fathers. It was not easy to walk with Christ, and even more difficult to remain with Christ. Early in His ministry, despite performing miracles in front of thousands of people, there were still those who, unable to fully accept His teachings, “went back and walked no more with him.” With our perfect vision of hindsight, it boggles the mind that people could witness these miracles and not continue to follow Him. In two recorded chapters of Matthew alone, Jesus remotely healed a paralytic servant in one of the first documented telemedicine visits, stopped an infection in Peter’s mother, cast out devils and evil spirits, awoke from a nap to rebuke the sea and command a tempest, sent demons out of two men into a herd of swine, raised a young girl from the dead, gave sight to two blind men, and cleansed a leper.
Being in the presence of, let alone touching, a leper was an extreme breach of the cultural norm. These poor individuals were cast out from society—the original Social Distancers. For Christ to approach a person with leprosy and heal them was unheard of. But he did it, and in that act demonstrated to the world that faith was more powerful than fear.
Despite witnessing these miracles, even Peter—Jesus’ Rock—shows us how quickly we can lose faith. Faith compelled Peter over the edge of the boat and onto the surface of the water:“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:29-30)Nearing the end of Jesus’ ministry, and before He suffered in the garden, Peter was told that he would deny Jesus by the next morning. Emphatically, Peter denied the prophecy. Later, at the crow of the rooster, Peter acknowledged his denial of Jesus and fled the scene, weeping bitterly. (Matthew 26:34-35, 69-75)
One of the core principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faith. We learn from His teachings that where there is fear, often faith is lacking. In his letters to the Hebrews, Paul teaches us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Fear, on the other hand, is the paralyzing substance of things imagined, the evidence of the hand of God not recognized. We also learn from John that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear”. If we love God and his son Jesus Christ, there will be no room in our hearts for fear. Like Elisha and his young servant, the mountains around us are filled with unseen horses and chariots of fire standing at the ready to protect us. In the words of the Old Testament prophet, we can take solace in the admonition: “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” If we love God, and if we put our faith in His son, Jesus Christ, we will be protected from harm.
We will be able to sing with Psalmist “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me.”(56:3-4)
When our trust is in our God, nothing can shake our faith. Nothing can stop us. The prophet Jeremiah, who was sanctified by the Lord and ordained a prophet while still developing in his mother’s womb warned that:
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord… Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be free; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5, 7-8)
When our faith and trust are placed in God and His Son Jesus Christ rather than our fellow men, our efforts will be blessed. We will be fruitful even in dire circumstances. Our branches will flourish when our faith does not falter.
With our faith rightly placed in God, we need not even fear death. This can be observed well in the way Jesus handled himself in the days and hours leading up to his crucifixion. When the mob came for him, Peter panicked, drew his sword, and cut off a man’s ear. In the commotion, Jesus did not flee, but instead, He made the injured man whole. Isaiah prophesied of these moments when he said “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) Jesus knew what He came to this earth to do. And though He would have liked to pass the cup, He drank deeply and perfectly.
In the months leading up to his crucifixion, Christ taught His apostles of the futility of fear, even when facing physical death. Here, we also find the only scriptural account of Jesus telling us who we should fear: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5)
As we navigate into a new year, let us move forward in faith and love. Let us make decisions for ourselves and our families on a foundation of faith rather than fear. Let us not forget the words of the prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” There is much in our world that we cannot change. There is much in our personal lives that we can change.
It is interesting to learn that when our brain is overcome with anxiety and fear, our decision-making ability is hampered. Fear is an emotion that is processed through the Limbic System, and specifically in a structure called the amygdalae. Short-term activation of these structures are what drive the “fight or flight” response, and can be beneficial to keeping us safe. Long-term, persistent activation of the fear centers of our brain will effectively shut down activity in the frontal lobe—the portion of the brain that is responsible for regulating thought, reasoning, movement, decision-making, and planning. When the amygdalae drives behavior, rational decision making is near impossible. It’s almost as if we surrender our agency to choose our actions when we are driven by fear.
Anxiety and fear have been at an all-time high for as long as some of us can remember. The wind is truly boisterous, and we are frequently tempted to scream up to the heavens, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Some of us may even think that God sleeps and has forgotten us. I testify that He does not sleep. In many cases, like the servant of Elisha, it is our eyes that are clouded by fear, distracted by the enemy’s armies that surround us every day. Pouring into our homes through the television and Internet. Striking fear into our hearts on a daily basis.
Jesus spoke of our day when he told His disciples of the condition of the world before His second coming. He warned that “…there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)
May our hearts not be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Rather, may our hearts be filled with love and our eyes trained in faith to look upon the Savior rather than be distracted by the waves crashing around us. I know that God loves us. And because He loves us, He sent His Son to die for us so that we too may break the bonds of death and return to live with Him again. Nothing can stop the kingdom of God from rolling forth. I witness the words given to Timothy by Paul:“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)Let us fearlessly move forward into this new year and enjoy the ride in faith.
Dr. Alan Bradford is a Father, Christian, and Naturopathic Medical Doctor. Specializing in hormone optimization, integrative diabetes care, natural treatments for chronic pain, and acupuncture for addiction. Co-host of Community Guidelines, a weekly podcast about #InformedConsent, #MedicalFreedom, and #NaturalMedicine. To connect with him on social media see Gab and Instagram. https://dralanbradford.com/about

Green Pass to the Abyss: Mass Surveillance and Technocratic Slavery

by Fr. Zechariah Lynch / Inkless Pen Blog
This post was originally published here, on the author’s personal web journal
“Everyone will now become his own prison guard,” Jacques Attali.
In April of 2021, I penned an article entitled, Health Passports, Economic Coercion, and the Number of a Man. In that post, I addressed the clear and looming agenda of “health passports.” Sadly, the article is still very relevant. I wish it were not and I could write and say, “I got that wrong!” Yet, as I write this current article “health passports” are being aggressively pushed forward around the globe.
Such passports have very little to do with actual health. Health is a very convenient cover for introducing a tyrannical and technocratic form of population control. Its goal is a form of slavery – total dominance slavery. To all, this should be a clear line. As you read this, whether you have received the current injections or not, once the mechanism of a passport is in place it will not be removed, at least it will be removed only with great difficulty. Once you yield the authority to the powers that be in the form of a “health passport,” you have freely begun to lock yourself in prison chains, digital though they may be, which as we shall see have the prospect of being more controlling than any actual chains.
I appeal to all: resist at all costs the “health passport” system. Having nothing to do with it.

For Christians, it should be manifestly clear of what spirit it is. The Scripture most evidently states that the system of the Beast will have a method of controlling “buying and selling.” I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, though the immediate passport system may not be the final manifestation of what is very well known as the “mark of the Beast,” it is participating in the very spirit thereof. It is without a doubt building a strict environment in which only those currently approved (the goal post will be ever moving) may “buy and sell.” Do not let some purportedly “christian” voices fool you, those who claim there is no parallel. There is. The current system is of the spirit of the beast.
At current, in most places participating in the “health passport” tyranny, a lack of a “green” status bars a person from such venues – cinemas, theaters, museums, restaurants, bars, cafes (sometimes including terraces), clubs, some shopping malls, long-distance transport, gyms, organized sports, and public events such as concerts and meetings. As Christians, we could well do without a number of these events. Yet as I noted in my previous article, it starts with such events and will eventually move to grocery stores and other more “essential” things. I believe they will even eventually move it to churches and other religious meetings (I’ve heard this is already taking place). Grievously, some Christians are already willingly participating in the spirit of “show proof of vaxx to enter.”
Hopefully, the reader is already aware of the many current physical applications of the “health passport” system. Yet, here is a link to its implications in Europe. Here to a list of countries utilizing a “health passport” system of sorts. Here is an interesting article from a secular and fully vaxxed individual on the topic (just because I share things of interest does not mean I agree totally with everything written). Russia has also eagerly jumped on the globalist bandwagon of “health passports.” Washington DC is now making proof of vaxx papers needed for access to most services (other cities in the US are doing similar things, although some States, thankfully, are also moving to block implementation of such systems.) Areas of Canada seem to be pushing for vaxx papers to enter even places of worship. The Vatican is utilizing “health passports.”
In broad strokes, I have presented how the “health passport” agenda has advanced since I wrote my first article. I have made the strong claim that the system has nothing to do with health, rather it is a longstanding agenda to coerce people into accepting a system of complete surveillance and tyranny. To this end, I have chosen to highlight sections from the writings of the acknowledged globalist, Jacques Attali. He is a lesser-known globalist writer but nevertheless correctly conveys the clear goals and agendas at work. All quotes I have taken from his book, “A Brief History of the Future,” which bears glowing endorsements from Henry Kissinger. He has been an integral part of the establishment, amongst many functions, he served as a lead political advisor in France and served as the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. As with many of the globalist-technocratic writers, the book can be a little tedious to read. The two chapters I have pulled from are entitled, “The Object as Substitute for the State: from Hypersurveillance to Self-surveillance” and “Surveillance: Masterword for the Times Ahead.” The original copyright date for the book is 2006. I am utilizing his work because he is indisputably conveying the goals of the global establishment, being himself, as I have noted, one of them.
I have read a number of first-hand sources from the globalist-technocratic writers. They all state the same goal, although there may exist some surface and nuanced differences. What you are seeing unfold around you is part of a plan long in the works. Of course, as Christians, we know that the final and ultimate say will come from God. Yet, we also know that He will allow men to gather in a seeming victorious rebellion against Him. Our true and fervent repentance can derail the plans of these godless men.
In an attempt to control resources and wealth (for themselves, ie the globalist elites), it will be necessary to regulate every action and even intent of the masses. For this technology is vital. Mr. Attali speaks of “nomadic objects,” which in brief means a type of portable technology, from things such as cell phones to micro-chips implantable in the body, even on a nano level. He states that the monitoring of a person’s consumption and behavior “will take place through the use of technologies permitting storage of energy and information on nanometric entities (whence the term nanotechnologies). We shall move toward the construction of nanomachines … Microprocessors will use DNA and peptide biomolecules, which will serve in the construction of nanocomputers” (pg 175. Note – I have a PDF copy of the book. Page numbers are accordingly).
Please take careful note of the fact that he clearly states that a goal is to utilize DNA and peptide biomolecules (all parts of your body) to construct nanocomputers. Although the focus of this article is not the gene “therapy” injection being offered (and forced) at current, it is important to keep it in mind as part of the agenda. Most of all since the powers that be desire to force everyone to receive it, even though it is also the deadliest “health” injection ever administered. The “health passports” are directly tied to this goal of forcing the gene programming injection.
Thus a very clear goal is the “internet of bodies” (IoB). The IoB in basic seeks to add technologies into the human body that will make it interfaceable with other technologies outside of the body. As indicated above, a goal is to make human bodies into a sort of nanocomputer. Mr. Jacques writes, “The single nomadic object will be integrated one way or another into the body. It will serve as a sensor and a controller” (pg 176). Now be this through a “medical” injection or a chip is somewhat secondary, for indeed it could be through both. It is beyond denial that an implantable, in the hand, micro-chip is being introduced at this moment as a very simple and convenient method to carry personal information including the “health passport.” It should not escape the reader that the goal is to utilize technologies so to equip the body with the ability to receive and transmit and be controlled.
He continues, “Acting as the engines of growth, new objects will take over from automobiles, washing machines, and nomadic objects: these will be surveillance objects, replacing many traditionally state-run functions. I shall call them the Watchers” (Ibid). This of course is very clearly the “internet of things.” All of your “smart” devices are indeed “Watchers.” Watchers sound so warm and cozy.
“Since this will mean manipulation of services essential to social order — indeed the foundation stones of states and peoples — it will radically modify relations with the individual or collective imagination, with identity, life, sovereignty, knowledge, power, nation, culture, and geopolitics. And now we stand before the most sweeping revolution awaiting us in the next half century. These Watchers will not spring forth ready-made from the imagination of crazed researchers or technicians touched by the hand of God. They will be responding to the financial imperatives of the mercantile order …” (pg 177). Mr. Jacques tells us this is not a “conspiracy theory.” The driving forces of the agenda are behind the finances and mercantile order, this may be a clear reference to the globalists banking system which is one of the major powers behind current agendas. (Read this article and watch the video in it for more on this subject.) The goal is to manipulate essential services to radically modify relations. This is a function of the “health passport,” together with numerous other responses implemented in the name of “health” during this time. This has been in concerted motion since the start of the current “crisis.”
“This process will go through two stages, which I shall call hypersurveillance and self-surveillance” (ibid).
The clearly stated goal is that “It will become part and parcel of the host of services making it possible to track objects and people. Nomadic ubiquity opens itself to hypersurveillance when whoever is connected leaves traces of his passage. Private services will then manage social rights and the administrative services” (pg 178). Read that well – private services will then manage social rights. Are we not seeing this already? It is all tied together. Most “health passport” systems are being implemented with the aid of private services. The goal is to manage you like a “resource.” If you are found not “resourceful” enough, then you will be expendable (as indeed all the masses are to the globalist powers). A “health passport” system will eventually morph in an all-encompassing social passport system that, “will also verify that their clients conform to norms to minimize the risks they will be called on to cover. They will gradually come to dictate planetary norms” (ibid). You will be a slave in a digital system that dictates “planetary norms.” Those norms will be anything but the Christian way of life.
In such “planetary norms,” “Ignorance, exposure to risks, wasting, and vulnerability will be considered diseases” (pg. 179). Those are fairly vague designators.
In this system, through business and financial means compliance will be extracted. “This compliance will imply monitoring one’s health, knowledge, vigilance, and property” (ibid). That is, every aspect of a person’s life will be monitored to assure compliance with the “norms.” The “health passport” is already down that road, for it is a verification of a person’s compliance with the “command” to get injected with experimental gene therapy. It is already discriminating between “compliant” and “non-compliant.” It seems the “enlightened” world does indeed enjoy discrimination after all; moreover, it is a fervent believer in slavery.
Third-party groups will be used to monitor compliance and verify conformity to the norms. Mr. Jacques plainly states, “For this, everyone must agree to be monitored. The era of Big Brother, earlier proclaimed but only partially implemented, will become the norm” (pg. 180). Please read that statement again. For this system to work everyone must agree, that is – surrender civil freedoms of their own free will; this is one of the major goals of the current “health crisis.” Many people are freely agreeing to be monitored, that is to be enrolled in digital slavery. It is also why they are seeking to force even those who do not want the injection into receiving it, for the system of control to work everyone must be in it. The gulag will have no borders because people will freely enter the digital gulag under the banner of “freedom.” And it is transpiring right now. The “health passport” is a gulag pass. For the price of “access” people will sell their lives. Slavery has always been one of the most profitable businesses.
What better cover to trick people into agreement than the seeming “good” of fighting a “health crisis?” They will always use seemingly beneficial covers to advance their underlying sinister goal of enslaving the planet. It is a long-stated goal, and the current facade of “health and well-being” is tailormade to advance it. It is impossible to sell blatant evil to people, it must be dressed up in seemingly “good” intentions.
And as if scoffing at people, the clear goal of the globalist powers is further presented, “The unique nomadic object will be permanently traceable. All the data it contains, including images of everyone’s daily life, will be stored and sold to specialist businesses and to public and private police. Individual data on health and competence will be updated by private databases that will allow for predictive tests in view of preventive treatment … Nothing will be hidden anymore” (pg. 180).
So confidant in their agenda are they that they predict people will willingly become their own prison guards. “We shall also see the appearance of self-surveillance instruments and software for monitoring compliance with the norms related to knowledge. They will organize verification of acquaintances. The nomadic ubiquity of information will become the permanent monitor for knowledge” (pg. 181).
Why do they believe people will be their own eager guards and the ruthless monitors of their neighbors too? Because “Faith in technological infallibility will open enormous markets for this variegated spectrum of devices” (pg 182). Ahh! Just trust the experts! Trust the “infallible” lords of technological utopia! Faith, that they will protect us from a deadly virus! Faith, that they will keep us from the new sins that will condemn us in the eyes of society! The litany of “faith” could go on.
And again, without any ambiguity, it is said, “Once again, collective services (this time state-run) will become mass-produced industrial products. Everything put in place over the last several decades will meet a triumphant conclusion. Everyone will now have become his own prison guard. And at the same time, individual freedom will have reached the mountain-top — at least in the imagination, by the use of new nomadic objects” (ibid). Yes, they have been building and preparing for decades. Everyone will be his own prison guard. That is the goal. “Health passports” are a vital step in this goal. And, laughing in the face of people, Mr. Jacques says they will only be free in their imagination. That is, there will be no freedom. You will be given a digital prison, seemingly spacious, but its end is in the abyss. Ultimately, this all will facilitate an even greater spiritual slavery, which is more fearful than a physical one. Let it be clear – the price of participation in the emerging system will be your soul. But, as with any system from the evil one, it remains dependent on lies to succeed. We must live free from its lies; we must refuse to substantiate them in any way.
What do we do? Refuse any participation in the system. Remember it is contingent upon people willingly taking part in the system. So, we must willingly not participate in it. Don’t shop or buy from any place requiring “health passports.” Warn others. We must wean ourselves from our addiction to comfort in the West, for this is one of the pressure points that will be pushed to elicit compliance. Prepare yourself to possibly suffer some physical discomfort. Christians, if your church is participating in the “health passport” system, find another church. Find pastors who are standing strong against the dark spirit of these times. Find and actively support faithful pastors. If they are requiring you to scan into church, this is a major red flag.
Pastors who are allowing this system are ultimately sacrificing their flock to the wolves. They may think they are averting something by “just obeying the mandates” yet in reality they are hastening destruction. Sadly, I am well aware of supposedly Christian places actively promoting the slavery passport system. They are but participating with terrible tyranny, indeed an emerging system that will be more destructive than the Nazis or Communists of the 20th century. They are but selling their people off to the globalist-technocratic “masters” of this age. They are but actively handing over their people to the secular thieves of this world. They are priming and desensitizing their people to eventually receive the ultimate mark of the beast, of which the current passports are but a foreshadowing manifestation. “I got the mark because I care for other people!”
And what will we pastors say before the Throne of God for turning His people away over a “medical” procedure? How will we escape judgment if we do not repent of such things? But, Lord, we barred them from church because the secular governments commanded us to do so, we were just following orders! How could we be held culpable!? I would enquirer of certain Christians participating in the current system – what part of the above agenda harmonizes with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Please tell me. Christ Jesus has come to give mankind life and true freedom, the current system, as outlined above, is seeking absolute slavery, including spiritual slavery which is death. It is also seeking to discriminate against those who do not desire to participate in its proffered techno-colored slavery.
It seems these words of the holy hieromartyr Sergius (Mechev) are still very much applicable in our times, “’Turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him; even an offering of the wheat and of the wine unto the Lord your God?’ (Joel 2:12-14). But from where have we heard a universal call to repentance? Where have we seen the archpastors and pastors weeping rivers of tears between the porch and the altar to spare their people? (cf. Joel 2:17). We have placed the diplomatic talents of the hierarchs on a more important level than the Word of God. On them we have placed hope, on them we have placed our salvation. By a lie we have tried to preserve the Kingdom of Truth.”
The Kingdom of Truth will never be preserved through participation in a lie. For, by participating in the lie we will alienate ourselves from the Truth. For Truth will stand until the end of time and unto all eternity, let us be vigilant to stand in it.
Above we have the very clear testimony of a primer globalist, the agenda is clearly stated and at work. Now is the time to fight it. Its agenda is not yet in full control. By going along with it we are going along with death. Moreover, we become destroyers of our neighbors, for we do nothing to withstand a clearly demonic agenda. May the Lord have mercy on us.
I have clearly outlined the agenda behind the “health passport” system with testimony straight from the horse’s mouth, as the saying goes. And I will challenge the reader (and myself) with these words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, And thus, overcoming our temerity, let each man choose: Will he remain a witting servant of the lies (needless to say, not due to natural predisposition, but in order to provide a living for the family, to rear the children in the spirit of lies!), or has the time come for him to stand straight as an honest man, worthy of the respect of his children and contemporaries?
Indeed, the time to stand is now. Let us stand in Christ Jesus our Lord, knowing that we are not ultimately fighting with flesh and blood, but with the dark powers of the evil one who desires nothing else but the destruction of humanity. We have been born in this time by the providence of God, it is our duty to battle for the Truth in the time in which God has placed us, thus let us hold fast to it most dearly.
– I pulled a number of sections from Mr. Jacques’ book for this article and did not use them all in the main body thereof. Below the reader will find a few more quotes, which further manifest the agenda at work. –
Technology will make it possible to know everything about the origins of products and movements of men — which will much later imply essential military applications. Sensors and miniature cameras installed in all public (and eventually private) places, in offices and in recreational areas, and finally on the nomadic objects themselves, will monitor all comings and goings (the phone already allows us to communicate and be tracked). Biometric techniques — fingerprints, iris, shape of hands and face — will allow for surveillance of travelers, workers, and consumers. Countless analytical devices will make it possible to monitor the health of a body, a mind, or a product (pg 180).
Massproduced objects will allow everyone to monitor his own compliance with the norms, and self-surveillance will appear (pg. 181)
New technologies will arise to multiply these portable means of surveillance. Computers will be integrated into clothing by nanofibers and will miniaturize still further the body’s selfmonitors. Electronic bugs, worn subcutaneously, will ceaselessly register heartbeat, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Microprocessors connected to various organs will watch their functioning as compared to the norms. Miniature cameras, electronic sensors, biomarkers, nanomotors, and nanotubes (microscopic sensors that can be introduced into the pulmonary alveola or the bloodstream) will give everyone the opportunity to measure, permanently or periodically, the parameters of his own body (ibid).
My name is Zechariah Lynch. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am an Orthodox priest. I have freely given myself to be influenced and guided by the Orthodox Faith: it is the main foundation upon which I will endeavor to base my thoughts and observations for this blog.I believe in things like Truth, Goodness, and Beauty; that humanity is subject to higher principles. Ultimately I believe in God.I will be mixing the proverbial “religion and politics.” I will also simply be reflecting on various issues of life. Sometimes everyday things; sometimes global events. An organic and cohesive philosophy spans all aspects of life. Everyone has a “philosophy” for life. But I am not a relativist, thus I do not think that all ideas are true and equal. Although ideas they may be.This blog is my thoughts and opinions. Although, as stated above, I have diligently sought to guide them by the standard of Orthodox Christianity.My writing credentials do not come from the fact that I have an M.Div, for instance. My credentials remain in the fact that I am striving to base my thoughts and way of life upon the Revelation of the Holy Trinity as given to the Eklessia. Or in the words of Fr. Seraphim (Rose), “Far be it from me to presume to speak for the Church; but I can at least speak of some of the things I think I have learned from Her.”This Revelation is very objective. Humanity has not been left without standards. God revealed Himself by becoming Man. He left us the Church, His Body, as the “pillar and ground of truth” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15); we have the testimony of Jesus Christ and the Apostles – the Scriptures. We have a two thousand year experience of Christian living and teaching (tradition). These are all very concrete and empirical.The Inkless Pen Blog

On Christian Femininity

by Robyn Riley
No path is as fraught with as much deception, trickery, and artifice in modern times as that of the path to womanhood. From all angles and the early stages of childhood, women are ambushed with ideas about the best way to be who they are and more importantly what they are not. Messages of how they should think about femininity, sexuality, love, marriage, motherhood, spirituality, and vocation are all dominated by secular voices most often coming from pop feminism.
         Women scoff at the thought of seeking biblical wisdom or God’s guidance in their journey to adulthood and yet still wonder why they are so miserable. Modern women are never satiated in their continuous pleasure-seeking and are usually left feeling empty inside though surrounded by material wealth.

The issues facing secular womanhood.
         Humility is a seldom considered virtue in modern times, even less so by secular women. Everything in our culture directs women towards a cult of pride, materialism, and vanity. Narcissistic tendencies are celebrated in “Girl Boss” culture and are encouraged over self-sacrifice and charity. Social media exacerbates this fact by encouraging women to feel that the greatest thing they have to offer to others is merely images of themselves, filtered and edited to perfection.
         The normalization of female sexuality has been seen as a currency that has encouraged women to sell their bodies online as soon as they’re legally permitted to do so. They offer debased digital fragments of themselves to thousands of anonymous men for a living rather than devoting their lives to one man of honor, and they are applauded for doing so. Indeed women receive more attention, validation, and in some cases more wealth this way but it is all fleeting. Dreams and success are therefore built upon sand.
         Feminism reigns supreme in the secular world and elicits another form of pride pertaining to women’s ability to live and even become mothers independently from men. At great cost to individual women who attempt it, the infrastructure exists to support such a delusion. It can be artificially achieved through working a minimum of 40 hours a week, paying for a sperm donor, IVF, a nanny, and daycare. Those who would rather the focus be perpetually themselves can simply “rescue” a cat or dog.
         Sobriety of mind is one of the most important factors of living a spiritual life. Yet many women are sucked into the new age religion of self-worship where many are regularly engaging in ritual veneration of pagan and Hindu deities in the form of yoga and live under the constant influence of marijuana. Ironically we see a lot of these specific forms of delusion popping up in holistic health communities.
         This culture inevitably results in the suffering of many women because even though on the surface we can make it appear as if they are living happy fulfilled lives, most have absolutely no purpose beyond their own pleasure-seeking and suffering avoidance. More women than ever rely on SSRIs to cope with crippling mental illness, no doubt at least in part from lifestyle choices and toxic beliefs they harbor within.
         Rather than address the cause and root of this crisis among women, we see intense efforts to simply normalize despair, to dress up pain in comedy and quirky self-deprecation. Women have been made into clowns and caricatures of themselves, embracing their failure as some kind of trophy. Personalities such as Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer and their work reaffirm this new archetype rooted in failed, or rejection of, traditional femininity. It has become the all too common model for a new kind of vileness in women’s shameless displaying of non-compliance with natural womanhood.
What is Biblical/Orthodox Christian womanhood? 
         I hesitate to dictate too firmly from my own perspective on what it means to be a good Christian woman. I fail at being so every day, I am after all human, broken and flawed before God’s eyes. I have been a Christian all my life, but only Orthodox for about a year. I am an infant in my understanding and practical implementation of what it means to embody right Christian womanhood and I encourage you to approach any woman who speaks with a sense of authority on the matter with extreme caution. 
         While my own personal experience is lacking, as I still have so much to learn and unlearn in my own journey of walking with God as an Orthodox wife and mother, scripture is clear about what God intended womanhood to be.
Motherhood as a form of Asceticism
         Embracing motherhood with a joyful heart is one of the most challenging and transformative things a woman can do. As mothers, every moment of every day is considered in relation to our children. We are no longer individuals, there is an extension of our hearts and selves out in the world and under our care. We sacrifice sleep, spare time, our hobbies, often even the food on our plates for our little ones. It is a constant practice in subverting our own will for the good of another person.
         There are a lot of toxic beliefs and coping mechanisms floating around modern mom culture. From making excuses about being lazy with housework, putting no effort into cooking nutritious meals for our children, the normalization of alcoholism, and even making social media posts expressing how you are still a good mom even if you have a kind of disdain and resentment towards your children. I suspect this is mostly because this community never considers that it is God that they can rely on to help them through the often tedious and trying aspects of motherhood.
“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.”Psalm 46:5
         I’m not saying that motherhood will be easy if you rely on God, it’s going to be hard regardless. What I am saying is that with God by our side even the most difficult days can be accented with gratitude, love, and patience. God doesn’t give burdens and challenges in our lives as a form of punishment. These are opportunities to turn towards God himself for help rather than worldly comforts. God will always be here for us when we need him. Motherhood is a pathway to realizing and experiencing this on a daily basis. 
          In the same way that a monk or nun denies themselves for their own salvation and in their charity the salvation of others, Christian mothers also deprive themselves of much and still find great meaning and joy in the process along the way. In this way, a Christian approach to motherhood can be seen as a form of asceticism, and among the highest callings a woman can answer.
Icon of the Mother of God the “Milkgiver”
Serving one’s family and/or community as a vocation. 
         Christian women are often seen as having to be mothers in order to be embodying womanhood correctly, but this is not always the case. Many Christian saints lived chaste lives and still were more than adequate representations of Orthodox womanhood.
“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20-21
         Christian women must be willing to be charitable to those in her community and life who are in need. They must do such works for the well-being and salvation of others without expecting anything in return. Charity for the sole purpose of getting oneself in God’s good books makes charitable works ultimately self-serving. God gave women a nurturing and life-giving nature that can be fully expressed through acts of charity to both the stranger as well as to one’s family.
         Furthermore one of the most contentious aspects of the service of Christian womanhood pertains to the service to one’s husband. We know that Eve was created as Adam’s helper. This has been taken out of context to mean that Eve was Adam’s slave or indentured servant. On the contrary is it the complementary roles played by both sexes in cooperation with one another which allows for both men and women to fulfill their natural God-given roles adequately. 
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”Ephesians 5:22-33
         It is of the utmost importance that women see their husbands as instruments of their salvation and vice versa. God gave us the sacrament of marriage as a gift that allows us to attain eternal life through service to and love of another person. Both husband and wife have their duties to one another and there is great honor in fulfilling them.
         In practical terms when we try to serve our husbands we must consider that different kinds of husbands will need different things to feel loved and supported. Some husbands fully appreciate having a hot meal prepared for them consistently when they get home from work, others simply need to hear words of encouragement and appreciation regularly and some men really just need time alone to feel that they are being supported. 
         Rather than making demands of our husbands, why not entrust him with tasks that better help him lead the family? As women, we can sometimes feel that we know the best way to do things and it can be very difficult to trust in our husbands to not only do things their way but to do them correctly.
         When we build that trust in our husbands by letting go of the need to control family matters we offer our husbands the opportunity to grow in their Christian role as family leaders. In so doing we grow in humility and our trust in God’s will for us.
St. Gorgonia: declared by her brother, St. Gregory the Theologian, to be, “The Paragon of Women” and “The Diamond of Her Sex”
Seeking and Glorifying God through all things. 
         One of the most challenging things about pursuing Christian womanhood in today’s world is practicing humility and learning to be grateful for all things the Lord has offered and withheld from us. Women are taught to have an enormous sense of entitlement from very early on in their lives. Women have incredibly high standards and expectations of the world around them and generally believe they should receive all the comforts and luxuries life has to offer merely for existing. This ensures a kind of extended adolescence and perpetual postponing of emotional maturation resulting in women never really knowing how to accept denial or being told no.
         Christian womanhood takes the exact opposite approach to navigating life’s triumphs and disappointments. We must be careful to not let success go to our head, nor let failure create a sense of self-pity. When God gives, and withholds, the things we desire greatly in our hearts we must be willing to accept these things with the response of gratitude and humility always. 
         Subverting our own will for the will of our Creator is a constant practice. If God sees it right to withhold something from us, trust that it is good. If he gives, thank him sincerely. This doesn’t mean that we ought to carry out our lives with indifference and lack of direction, it means that we should work towards what we want with a constant surrender to God’s plan over our own. Being able to do this subverts the often neurotic and depressive tendencies women can indulge in at times. It allows us to express great emotions with dignity and feminine grace.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time”1 Peter 5:6
         Our endlessly vain and narcissistic beauty culture on social media distracts many women from the feminine beauty within ourselves. We can easily become too focused on outward beauty due to the reality that merely being physically beautiful can afford women a great deal of wealth and luxury. While it is not a sin to take care of one’s appearance and to enjoy looking good we must be careful that we do not let our fixation with our appearance distracts us from God.
         We must work at least as hard adorning our spirits with qualities that are pleasing to God as we do with adorning our physical bodies. A kind heart and a gentle spirit are more beautiful in the eyes of God than any physical quality.
“Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”1 Peter 3:3-4
Wisdom from my Matushka
         The cultural pressure to prove that you are more than “just a woman” is pervasive in our culture thanks to feminism. Women are pressured to be career-driven, financially independent, fashionable, worldly, highly educated, etc. Women have been told from a very young age that the “patriarchy” prevents them from doing what men can do. They then spend their whole lives trying to prove that they can do what men can do, sacrificing many aspects of womanhood they deeply long for in the process. As my Matushka once said, “Just be women!” We were designed to be nurturers and mothers and that’s enough! Our roles as a strong, grounding, organizing, and solidifying force for the family and community are essential for the health of children and wider society. 
         Orthodox women don’t feel a need to perform or prove that they are something more than they are. They celebrate and embrace who God made them to be. My Matushka taught me that Orthodox women are wholly, authentically themselves and they do not apologize for it. We know we are powerful, necessary, and strong in the roles and responsibilities God has given us and that our blossoming can best be achieved there. This doesn’t mean that we can’t change a lightbulb or do hard work, on the contrary, it means that we do hard work as women. We are comfortable in our own skin. We are happy and grateful to be women and do our work the way only women can.

         Christ took on human form and suffered human death for us, it is important then, that Christian women constantly be asking themselves, “What are we taking on for Christ?” Is it the challenges of raising Christian children who love God also? Is it supporting the husbands, fathers, and brothers God has given to us? Is it service to one’s community and disciplined obedience to God’s word? However we as unique and individual women are destined to fulfill God’s will, we must carry our cross with love, humility, and gratitude just as He did for us.
Robyn Riley is an Orthodox Christian, SAHM, and Homemaker. She is also a digital media creator focusing on political commentary, the challenges of motherhood, marriage, and developing one’s femininity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Theory and Mass Communication with a concentration on Media and Identity. Her main mediums for commentary are YouTube live-streams and the written word. She speaks to the ever more common experience of de-programing from the radical feminist mindset and has a dedication to seeking the truth wherever it leads her. She is a voice for those women who feel alienated by an increasingly ideological view about what womanhood is.

Being Trailblazers

Passions Becoming Roads – Examples of Participation in the Parallel Christian Economy and Society
by Nathan & Kim Lawson
Building a parallel economy honestly sounds daunting and grandiose to us. We have a hard time not rationalizing that it’s someone else’s problem and when they have it solved, they can let us know.
Reality Check: it is our problem, and yours. Because our very existence and way of life have been moved out of the “being threatened” category and into the “currently under attack” category. As things stand now, we have a short window here to prepare. Even if this does pan out to be resolved peacefully, we are no longer interested in settling into what used to be the norm. Whether we like it or not, at least half of our own country strives to remove the other half not just from a seat at the table but from existence. Concepts and events such as COVID and “being inclusive” are tools to make this happen. It has been an odd realization to accept that what we consider normal is now considered parallel to normal.
If you are like us, you may be asking yourself, “How do I move in this direction? How can I be proactive in this changing environment, so that I am not caught off-guard and unprepared? Do I seriously have to become a survivalist with a bunker, food pantry, emergency Bug Out Bag with a windup radio at the ready for the impending doom?” You could – no one is saying any of these actions are harmful or a bad idea. But at the same time, we believe there are three practical, day-to-day steps that can slowly adjust the rudder in your life to steer you more towards a parallel existence. And quite possibly, you have accomplished one or two of these steps already! If need be, for more info on these steps, we’re only a short text message away. Give us a follow at GIJoeGuy!

Step 1: Move closer to GOD!
As we mentioned in our previous article, “Live your life as close to God as possible, then live normally. You will be surprised at how abnormal your life will be.” Seeking guidance for a Christ-like life is easily achievable by simply seeking Christ. A daily devotion, prayer, journaling, fasting, and staying in fellowship with other believers are all solid actions that can be taken to accomplish this. Let us break this down into more practical, tangible steps, noting that in no way is this list comprehensive or thoroughly exhausted. Also, we must stress that as Paul said, “not that I (we) have already attained it, but I (we) press forward toward the goal…”
• Daily Devotion“Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”We all must eat physical food every day to stay energized. Just as physical food gives life to our bodies by way of calories, so we need spiritual food for our spiritual bodies. We would not think it normal or right to skip eating for days on end unless we were purposefully fasting (which is a point to follow). Additionally, not all food is healthy for our bodies. Typically, a person needs to eat complex carbohydrates, natural sugars, protein, and healthy fats to have a healthy body. What happens to your average person who sustains their physical bodies with pizza rolls, ramen noodles, honey buns, and the local drive-thru? Their bodies are exhausted, bloated, heavy, and eventually, they could develop heart issues, Type 2 diabetes, and more. The same goes for spiritual food. There is nothing wrong with “snacking” on short, daily e-mailed devotions or spiritual self-help books. But those are to spiritual food as tortilla chips are physical food. They are fun to consume, but when you really need energy, they will not sustain you.Ephesians 6 tells us plainly that we are in a spiritual battle. We must, therefore, fuel our spiritual body with sustainable spiritual energy. This is found in the Bible. Not in books ABOUT the Bible, not in devotions with stories that pull at your heartstrings and have a Bible verse tacked on the end of them, or in well-intentioned articles such as this one. You need the Bible.Kim has loved working through inductive Bible studies for the past 10 years using Precept Upon Precept courses by Kay Arthur. These studies guide a participant through books of the Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, using scripture itself to interpret scripture, without man-made commentary. These lessons take Kim an average of 30-45 minutes per day and are time well spent. Nathan likes to do what is called Exegesis and Exposition – taking the Bible and dissecting it down to word for word, seeking out the original Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic word. Then clarifying the definitions and the context. With the Bible – CONTEXT IS KING! The inductive Bible study has this aspect to it, but Nathan takes it to the next level by rebuilding the Bible from the ground up for original meanings. This includes things called word studies, mechanical layouts, and even developing his own commentary, which is nothing more than a man’s opinion on the Bible. It is important to note that before beginning any Bible study, prayer is essential for priming your heart and mind and asking the Holy Spirit to do what He does – to teach us.
• PrayerYes, prayer is great for starting devotions, but there is a lot more to this concept. Volumes of books have been written over the centuries grasping at the understanding of this discipline. But like most things connected to God, it’s beautiful in its simplicity. Prayer is nothing more than talking to God. When we say there is more to this concept, Prayer can be used throughout the day as an ongoing conversation with God.In our marriage, we talk almost constantly. Via text, phone calls, Facetimes where Kim is asking Nathan to intervene with an unruly child; there have been numerous occasions where arrives home not to say hello, but to continue the conversation that had just paused when he turned off the car! All this to say, God is even closer. Sometimes we are praying in our head while we are talking to one another. Prayer was never meant to be a segment of your day; rather interwoven through your experiences, like a thread in a tapestry. When you practice this, it WILL become second nature. You will find yourself speaking to the Lord before you open your mouth.
• Journaling“All the world’s a stage” is the opening line from a monologue by a character, Jaques, in William Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It.” As with any play, it starts with a script. By journaling, you have a rare glimpse of God’s hand in your life with 20/20 vision. One major issue all mankind is faced with is the understanding of where God is, what is He doing, and what will be happening in their life. By consistently writing down your experiences, you will then have a record of God’s faithfulness in struggles you faced, worries, and fears you had, along with the joys experienced during a particular moment and emotions you worked through. We are told in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Just as a child instinctively knows the sounds of its parent’s voice, we over time can learn to hear the voice of God.

My learning how He has answered past prayers gives us a direct connection to how He works, how He moves. This can be a vital tool for understanding His voice for future decisions. The methods for journaling have expanded in recent years. The most traditional method would be pen and paper, but we also now have audio, video, and digital methods for capturing a moment in time. Kim continues to enjoy the traditional method while Nathan has used an App on his phone since 2013 called Capture 365 Journal. Your method of journaling is a personal choice and should suit your personality and schedule.
• FastingAccording to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, fasting as a verb means to 1) abstain from food; 2) to eat sparingly or abstain from some foods. As a spiritual discipline, we see both types of fasting in the Bible. Men who took the Nazarite vow abstained from wine. Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days from all food. In both instances, the purpose is to turn to prayer and the Word of God in place of eating a meal. Your focus on the Lord becomes more intentional, as each craving reminds you to turn to the Lord and allow Him to fill you up with His peace, presence, and instruction. Now, not everyone can fast from meals, and the example of the Nazarite vow supports the notion of abstaining from something other than all food, as the Nazarites abstained from wine and from cutting their hair. As an example, we fasted from television for 40 days in 2008. That was the catalyst for us canceling our cable because we loved how much “quieter” our minds were. This became the beginning of two years of no television at all for us. When we did introduce TV back into our lifestyle, it was more intentional and not via cable subscription. Fasting can also have physical benefits. We have both done temporary juice fasts. We did this for physical reasons but were amazed at how much it helped to clear our minds, give our physical bodies energy, and even lose some weight. Remember, taking care of our physical bodies is also an act of worship “whatever we eat or drink let it be for the glory of God.”
• Staying in Fellowship with Other BelieversScripture is very clear on fellowship. And we have all witnessed that for two years, this has been an area that has received strong attacks from Satan. The term, “for the sake of safety” has decimated the church and the ability of believers to share life. Just as it has been for you the reader, this has been a strong struggle for us as a family. Even before the CCP Virus was introduced to the world, our family was struggling to maintain deep relationships with others due to so much change. We believe it takes 2-3 years to truly become found in a new church, and when we relocated in 2018 to our current area, we began to lay new seeds for future growth. Covid, and our move out of a rental and into our home, removed any benefits for these seeds. During the shutdowns, we discovered a new like-minded church and are reaching our first anniversary with this fellowship of believers. During this past year, we have also begun a new small group as well as once again taking steps into this new neighborhood to meet others. The digital frontier has also greatly altered, as it comes as no surprise to anyone on Gab. The Christian lifestyle was exiled from most platforms. Nathan had for several years pre-covid described the digital frontier as a Wild West, and now it has become even more dangerous. Thankfully, new foundations have been laid. We are grateful for Gab, and once again believe we are in a land that is uncensored and allows us the freedom to express the blessings of Christ with others! For us, 2022 has many mountains that lay in front of it when it comes to fellowship. But we are excited to know we are not climbing these hills alone.
We have benefited from these disciplines for decades and we both are now at a stage in life where we, in an odd way, are daily living with a sense of impending tragedy. Make no mistake – we are not saying we are ready! But we have been through enough to know that the words “whatever the future may hold” are solemnly said in a confident Hope in His Will. While we do not ask for trials, we can be as confident as the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:25.
Step 2: Ignite Your Passions
What are your Passions? They can be a fantastic launchpad for a foundation in the parallel economy. You could be unknowingly sitting on a path for spiritual, emotional, or physical release by something God has been developing in you for such a time as this. Let us illustrate this with a personal example from each of us:
Example #1 – From Kim: How the Lord allowed my passion for teaching English to help pay our bills
I earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL/ESL) in 2002 but never had a chance to use it beyond occasional tutoring until August 2017. Nathan had been laid off from his position in August of that year and for a time we were adrift without focus (there is a tremendous amount of story I am glossing over for another time). One month before he lost his job, I was presented with an opportunity to use my passion for ESL with a company known as VIPKid. This company had American educators working as independent contractors in a virtual classroom teaching English to children in China. This was an amazing opportunity and we both felt it would help give us some additional income. It was Nathan who encouraged me to interview for VIPKid. I had given up the interests I had as a single woman in trade for the calling and responsibilities that come with being a wife and mother. I didn’t think I “needed more” but Nathan thought I would rise to the challenge and love it. He felt it would revive a part of me I’d placed on the back burner for “when the children are raised.”

The hours were on a schedule based on the other side of the world, but I am an early bird. So, this opportunity meant I could teach 2-3 hours before anyone else in the family would wake up. It was a perfect fit and I loved it! Then what we describe in our lives as “The Great Shake-Up” happened and our only source of income became this side-gig. Being a virtual opportunity, meant that as we moved three times over the next year, I was able to carry this position wherever life carried us, and we were able to pay our bills. Not one bill went overdue, even though life had fallen apart. Financial security is important to me, and even though the stress of life’s woes weighed heavily on us, we were stable.
VIPKid no longer operates the way it was. The CCP made a drastic change to their laws that required a huge restructuring of the company which, long story short, made working for them no longer worth it. While I am a morning person, 4 years of waking up and working for a few hours followed up by the normal duties of a wife and homeschooling mom was taxing physically, spiritually, and relationally. The company’s restructuring meant a sharp decline in available classes and a $4 per hour plus incentives pay cut, so I stopped teaching for them in October 2021. However, for a season in life, I did get to live my dream as an ESL teacher in Asia. Today, my cup is full, and I am content to give 100% of my efforts once again to my family—not to mention get more sleep, have regular Bible studies (and not fall asleep during them!), and be able to spend time with my family, friends, and church past 7 pm!
Remember how I said that I had laid aside “Single Kim” passions for “Mrs. Lawson” passions? That included, amongst other things, determination to run the best homeschool that I can, and to help others along the way. Without seeking out the opportunity, the Lord brought about a position within our homeschool circles that allows me to do just that, AND receive some compensation for my time, training, and efforts. Not coincidentally, I accepted this position a month before I got the word that VIPKid had to implement its change. Now I can earn the same amount of money that I did as a VIPKid teacher without sacrificing time with my family or being distracted from the high calling of wife and motherhood. A passion that lay dormant was reignited at the proper time in life when we needed it most.
Example #2 – From Nathan: How an adventure in GI Joe helped us to buy a house
You’ll have to excuse me as I “Geek Out” for a minute to explain this one, but being a man in his 40’s, I was squarely raised in the 1980’s – or as I like to call it, the “Golden Age for Childhood Toys”. This is important because my “Geek Out” actually paved part of the road for homeownership. I was a HUGE fan of He-Man and GI Joe, as my Gab handle shows. As a child, I meticulously cherished these toys so that even now, I have a significant portion of my childhood collections. When we relocated to North Carolina, I for the first time in my life as an adult could display my toys – dream come true! Ever since then, I have truly enjoyed seeing these toys and reliving those whimsical days. But something else happened I had no clue would develop. As ironic as it may sound, in the past three years, I was able to expand my collection and develop a small side-business with my toys. Through social media, I became connected to an entire underground of like-minded individuals who equally “Geeked Out” on what I discovered to be a very active market for vintage toys.
How did it start: After the small wave of sadness from the realization that my toys were now labeled “vintage” and “collectable” Kim and I discussed the possibility of buying some pieces off the market. I would be allowed to keep a small amount for my collection and resell the rest. Doing this a few times allowed me to find some great deals and turn pieces around for a small profit. Then during the next 2 years, what began as a small side gig grew into a family business. We held live auctions and with my background in multimedia, we made a splashy show called “Auction in the Basement” filled with sales, interviews of other collectors, games, and prizes. We expanded from one camera to six (depending on the setup), additional co-hosts, then ultimately brought in Kim and the kids who handled audio, graphics, and cameras.

During this time, for a family of six, we were renting a rather small house and we wanted to find a home that could give us space and allow us the ability to deepen our roots in this location. It still sounds outrageous to me today, but this small side-business with vintage toys was a key component to getting us out of the forever-renter lifestyle and into homeownership. We went under contract the same week that the country shut down for the pandemic and due to the shifting financial market, vintage toys became volatile in their sales. Although I still have my connections in the field, we no longer hold regular sales and are currently seeking God’s guidance on any movement in this area. It’s almost like the last 30 years of my life lead my little family to a place to get into a more secure environment just before the world drastically changed.
Passions that God has planted within each of us can lay the strongest foundations. For you, it might be something stranger than vintage toys, or it could be something as simple as hand-made materials or an education that seems wasted. He has given us each the ability to grow deeper in every field imaginable and beyond. It begins with an openness to seek “out of the box” opportunities that are probably lying dormant in you even as you read these words. I never had the intention of homeownership 3 years ago when I displayed my toys, but by God’s grace, that is exactly what happened. Kim sought a career in teaching English at one time, then after 15 years of limited opportunity, the passion not only became a reality but crucial to our daily necessities and bottom line.

Step 3: Finding MORE Passions!
Since these endeavors, we have been seeking additional opportunities as they lay in wait. We sometimes feel like we are on a scavenger hunt, the clue sheet is the Bible, and our compass is the Holy Spirit. The change in dynamics due to Covid and the political climate have been the catalysts to develop “Lawsons on Purpose,” which we explained in our previous article. In one way you could say the show’s premise is us finding new opportunities, such as sewing, DIY opportunities galore, and even car repair.
When we began filming at the beginning of 2021, we had a small car issue where a sliding door fell off Kim’s van. Nathan discovered that if he had inspected this element earlier, he could have purchased a small piece to replace, and the door would function properly. Instead, we let this issue get so bad, it burned out a small motor that opens the door and damaged the outside of the car when the door fell off! This event pushed Nathan more into car repair, so when a new problem arose, he chose to tackle it head-on resulting in him, with assistance from some friends, replacing an entire cylinder head in the car! For those who know nothing of cars, that’s about 30% of the engine.The repair took 3 months out of the year to fully complete, but for someone who in January 2021 had never changed the oil, Nathan now has a list of car repair items he has been introduced to and a much better understanding of the mechanics of an engine. Also, when this issue arose, we truly believed the car was lost and we were looking at a repair bill that would be higher than the car’s worth. This was not an option for us as we could not afford a car bill. And as insane as it sounded at the time, replacing 30% of the engine was the option we had the most control over. And isn’t this a crucial component to being part of a parallel economy? Instead of purchasing a car, in our heads roughly a $13K loan, we invested $600 in parts and equipment. To this day, the car still runs! Now, this might change tomorrow, but tomorrow is God’s problem. (8) And Nathan has a much stronger desire to work with cars and his hands. Passions might not be obvious initially, but through life’s struggles, it’s amazing what you can discover about yourself.
What are you passionate about? Is it off the beaten path or is it so ordinary that you don’t think it could possibly be useful? Could a life-long desire be your path to thrive inside a parallel economy? You can start today and the 2022 year by taking steps to move closer to God, developing passions, and blazing trails towards self-sufficiency. Start today with prayer, seeking God’s voice. Journal the aspects of your life that cloud your focus and begin to watch how God moves the mundane pieces in your life. Plan a day of fasting to help develop this foundation. And once you begin to lay the initial bricks, invite others near you to participate in this new growth. We would love to hear how God has moved through your life as well!
Drop us a comment or message and let us know!
For more information on Nathan and Kim Lawson, follow Lawsons on Purpose on GabTV.

You’re Doing Money All Wrong

by Danielle Tate
You are a responsible, patriotic, God-fearing contributor to society. Unfortunately, you’ve been taught a lie about how to be responsible with money. You’re handing money all wrong and it shows. What if you could make one change and begin a transformation that will put you back in control and give less money to big-bank corporations?
Growing up, I knew two things about money:  Pay bills and put food on the table.  That was the cycle week after week, paycheck after paycheck. This was the cycle before I filed bankruptcy in 2002 and the cycle when my husband and I married in 2003. It continued for seven years and when things hit a wall it was obvious we had believed a huge lie about good intentions and responsibility.
This cycle is not just wrong, it is irresponsible. And if you’re paying bills and putting food on the table while swimming in a mound of big-bank pocket lining debts you’re not as responsible as you think. But there is hope…

The Problem with Good Intentions
On the surface, paying bills and putting food on the table sound responsible. The problem with these two good intentions is that they are only part of the picture. And your good intentions of well-fed kids and no collection calls aren’t putting you in control of your money – they are making you a slave to it.
Money is neither good nor evil. Money is a tool. When we use this tool like the rest of the world we are slaves to the evils of money. Sure, you may not be greedy, you may even tithe each week but when you’re paying bills, whose pockets are you lining?
Are you able to say, “No, I’m not buying your thing, I’ll shop elsewhere” or are you stuck buying less expensive, made-in-China junk because you can’t support patriots with small businesses?
Are you able to stick to your convictions and let them fire you because you know you’ve got a backup plan?
Are you furthering their agenda by spending more than you make and charging the rest resulting in ridiculous interest payments year after year?
Good intentions don’t replace wisdom which guides us to avoiding unnecessary debt, spending foolishly, and making irrational money decisions.
The Real Solution
When you want to learn something new or become good at a particular thing, you need to practice and immerse yourself in it.  You read the right stuff, you talk to the right people, you change your habits and make decisions around your new “thing.” And when it comes to money, your new thing should not look like the rest of the world. Funding big banks with thousands of dollars in interest on last summer’s vacation is NOT furthering the kingdom. Lining the pockets of anti-American, anti-God banks and big-box companies is not responsible.
When we’re wise with our money we have power. When we follow His stewardship plan we really can decide how much we’ll tolerate, where we’ll work, and where we will spend our money.
So you’ve been doing money wrong but you want to take back control. How?  Well, the solution is not shame, guilt, condemnation, or throwing away all your cash and bartering chickens for milk (although it may come to the latter again someday….).
The real solution is learning what God says about money and managing what you earn in a way that honors Him, furthers the kingdom, and reduces your dependency on places, people, and organizations who don’t even like you. This includes paying your bills and putting food on the table but it encompasses so much more. It isn’t living in a box, it’s living in freedom. It’s a lifestyle and one that aligns perfectly with your love of God and country.
I have this saying I use with my son when we’re discussing how we spend money. I’ll often tell him, “I don’t want to give my money to people who don’t like who you and Daddy and I are.” In other words, as conservative Christians who hunt and fish, and tell people about Jesus, I’m don’t want to spend money with organizations that do not like who we are.
Starting this lifestyle shift is not always easy but it is well worth it. Friends and family may think you’re ridiculous for foregoing family vacation to pay off debt but, they may already think you’re ridiculous anyway, and remember, the positive opinions of others are not a prerequisite for your success.
Your real, God-honoring stewardship plan should look like this:
Spend less than you makeSave for future expensesSave for emergenciesPay off debtsSupport and bless those in alignment with your values
Within those five areas, you have so much freedom you don’t even realize it. Want to buy prepping supplies – make it part of your plan. Want to pull your kids from public school – go for it! Want to support the parallel Christian economy here on Gab – you can! You can because as you reduce your debt and your debt dependency the money you earn because yours to do with as you’d like. You have more money you can spend as you wish instead of on interest. And nothing compares to the peace of mind you get when you pay off a credit card or loan knowing you will not easily find yourself in that situation again.
These five principles not only make sense, but they also honor God. As we stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zone to live a different lifestyle we will find times we must fully depend on Him either for the tangible things we need or because He has asked us to do things that seem crazy.
His angel guards those who honor the Lord and rescues them from danger. Find out for yourself how good the Lord is. Happy are those who find safety with him. Honor the Lord, all his people; those who obey him have all they need. —Psalm 34:7-9 (GNTD)
Remember:Even when money is tight, God will take care of you.Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. ~Proverbs 13:11 (ESV)
Remember: There are no quick fixes to your money problems. Hard work, sacrifice, and discipline are the only way to reach financial freedom that will last.Whoever loves money will never have enough money. Whoever loves luxury will not be content with abundance. This too is vanity. ~Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ISV)
Remember:You must fight discontentment. The Devil wants you to focus on what you do not have no matter how much you do have. There is no end to “more money”.Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”~Luke 6:38 (ESV)
Remember:When we give from a generous heart, not out of duty we will be blessed. But remember, the blessing we get do not always look the same as what we have given.
I told you earlier there was one thing you could change that would make a drastic difference. That one thing is transforming your thinking. It sounds simple but it is revolutionary. You’ve heard the saying, “sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
It all starts with how you think about your money, your financial situation, and God. Transforming your mind will transform your actions which leads to more freedom so you can spend money the way you want to – a way that honors God,  furthers the Kingdom, and supports those you want to support.
Danielle Tate is leading the financial freedom movement for Christian families. An author, speaker, and coach, Danielle is passionate about equipping Christians to reduce debt dependency and manage their money God’s way. Get started with your transformation with her Money Makeover Masterclass and grab her free 6 Steps to a Debt Free Lifestyle. Danielle, along with her husband Brad and their son Wyatt, call the greater Gettysburg, PA area home. When she’s not writing or coaching you’ll find Danielle homeschooling, cooking, or spending time outside. Find her online at her website and say hello here on Gab.

Electric Magi in Quest of the Light

By Rachel Fulton Brown and Jacqueline Khalfan
We live in dark times for Christian storytelling. Movies, television, comics, and games have all gone over to the dark side, serving the Lord of this World through dreams of power and subversion. We wanted to write a Christian story to combat the grooming and blasphemous worship of the seducers and baby-killers, while at the same time introducing children and their parents to the Light which the Enlightenment denied.

Our problem was two-fold. Modern Christians for the most part have lost touch with the foundations of our faith in the symbolism of the Scriptures and the apostolic liturgy, so suspicious have they become since the invention of the printing press with anything that smacks of idolatry (while, ironically, making idols of their texts). And yet, we live, as Marshall McLuhan famously put it, in the multisensory world of the electric light, under whose influence we long to participate in the collective consciousness of the familial tribe. Just as the printing press drove the development of nationalism and individualism, so our electric media have driven the development of mass society, paradoxically pointing us back to the times when our ancestors looked to the heavens as the great source of Light.

Accordingly, as Christian storytellers we take our inspiration from the heavens, as well as from the longing that children have to go on adventures. Christianity began with the appearance of a star. The luminous fire over Bethlehem drew the gaze of the astrologers of Chaldea, those fabled Magi of old. Time itself was split into BC and AD by this heavenly body appearing over the manger, as the heavenly body of our Lord appeared from the womb of His Holy Mother. This longing to go in quest of the Light of the World is the essence of the Nativity story, and truly the essence of the Christian story.

Children have ceased reliving this great adventure to find the star of Bethlehem, as Enlightenment rationality created a Christmas that is now mere bank holiday with greeting cards. We wanted to create a story that captured the childhood wonder of dressing up and becoming a Wise Man looking for Christ. The Dragon Common Room (DCR) hosted by Professor Rachel Fulton Brown on Telegram is focused on reviving the medieval tradition of mimetic and liturgical Christian thinking. Iconography, which has become an almost occult fetish to the Enlightenment world, means “image writing,” not “idol making.” Orthodox Catholics write icons as a practice of participating in the incarnational reality of God the Word becoming flesh. Our project in the DCR is to merge the writing of icons and poetry to train readers in the kind of medieval Christian thinking that has been exterminated from Western consciousness by woke culture and modern scientism.
Before the empirical measurement of matter became the dogma of our culture, the “Science of Virtue” was the main focus for medieval Christians, who trained themselves as readers and writers in the classical Liberal Arts. This training comprised both the arts of language (Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric) and the arts of number (Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and Astronomy). The Dragon Common Room is an attempt at reviving this tradition in the digital medium, and to train the Drakes specifically to wear the crown of the Seven Liberal Arts: poetry. Poetry is the laurel wreath of the Liberal Arts, where all of its branches are drawn into the composition of beauty—metered language, as sung by the angels in their heavenly choirs. In this practice, the Christian is required to speak aloud and incarnate the fulness of his or her learning, and to demonstrate the core of the Christian mind, which is Wisdom, manifest in the flesh.

This year, we gave ourselves the quest of writing an adventure for children, which we published just before Christmas through our own publishing house. Entitled Aurora Bearialis, our newest poem may be best described as Dante for children. Like Dante’s comedy, Aurora Bearialis works on multiple levels—historical, allegorical, moral, and anagogical—with an adventure set in our “middle-earth” imagined “flat” as if on a medieval mappa mundi. The adventure takes four young Northern bears on a quest for the Aurora that burns like living fire in the Southern hemisphere. Along the way, the bears encounter a panda who has been lured away from his mother and kin by the narcissistic gaslighting of a harem of mean-girl seals. Persuaded to join the bears, the panda becomes their mystic guide by way of his hunger, when he eats of the offerings ritually arrayed on the altar guarded by the penguins in their Ice City.

No spoilers! But there is a mysterious griffin flying high overhead, and an ominous black fin that has dogged the bears’ journey since the beginning. Allegorically, the story points to Christ as the Incarnate Light through the image of the Griffin incarnate as the Aurora Australis. Morally, our story teaches children how to deal with bullying and grooming through training in courage and faith. And, anagogically, through its riddles, the story points to the reality of the symbolism enbedded in the sacraments: the three-fold states of the water of Baptism, the sun-dropped bread and wine of the Eucharist, and the living diamonds of our sin-burned bodies. Did we mention that our story is also fully-illustrated by our very own HandDrawnBear, her animated drawings modeled on the manuscript illuminations by whose light medieval Christians read their texts?

The tongue is the machine of the mind. Proverbs 13:3 states: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” In the Dragon Common Room, we are trying to revive the practice that trains the machine of our minds, which is poetry. And to introduce again to the West the iconographic thinking that it is now embracing thanks to the emergence of the Internet (think memes and gifs). The Telegram medium is almost perfectly suited to training in the mosaic medieval style, as it allows us to converse with the multisensory tools of icons, written text, and both video and voice. The Dragons assemble from all over the world for daily Tea Time for formal lessons, although the chat runs almost constantly. From this endless flow of chatter, we find our themes and muses for poetic practice in the tradition of the choirs that sang their praises daily to the Lord of the psalms—and the drakes. For a taste of our poetry and links to where to buy Aurora Bearialis, visit the Dragon Common Room website or gab profile. To find our common room on Telegram, go to fencingbearatprayer and knock in the comments for the chat

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good Christians?

by Padraig Martin
It can be heartbreaking and painful. You pour your heart and soul into the full embrace of the Lord Jesus Christ. You love Him and you know that He loves you. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a tragedy strikes. It may be a fire, a betrayal, or the unexpected death of a loved one. Suddenly, you find yourself angry, sad, or a mixture of both. You may be tempted to question and perhaps even yell at God Himself. As a good Christian, your faith is shaken, and you naturally ask, “Why?” That question is bigger than you may have ever really considered: Why do bad things happen to good Christians? Yet, as big as that question may be, the answer is simple to the faithful. Let’s explore it.

To begin, many Christians often look inward to find the reason as to why they are suffering from something bad. Some will question the veracity of their faith, their own sinful behavior, and/or feel as though they are receiving divine punishment. While it is true, like any good father, God will correct His children, He will never do so in an unnecessarily spiteful way – unless you fully turn away from Him. The Bible is replete with stories of God’s wrath upon those of His people that choose to betray Him. But in the case of a good Christian, you have not turned from God. Thus, it is unlikely that bad things are happening because of something you did.

Now, keep in mind, I am not advocating a position that sin does not come without consequences. It certainly does. I believe that truly transformed Christians will abhor sin and do everything they can to avoid sinning. That stated, sin is the natural state of mankind. Jesus suffered, died, and resurrected to conquer that which God knew was an innate part of the human experience since the point at which Adam consumed the forbidden fruit. In Jesus’ Resurrection, sin is conquered eternally, but it is not conquered temporally. It exists on earth and the father of sin, Satan, uses it as a weapon. This is a position to which I will return shortly. Returning to the consequences of human sin, when a Christian sins, the consequence of that sin will likely manifest itself in a correlated way. Engage in lascivious behavior, for example, and you might end up with a sexually transmitted disease. That is not God punishing you. That is the earthly consequence of sin.
Again, however, the original question asks why good Christians suffer from bad things. A God who so deeply loved the world that He incarnated in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ, and offered Himself as the final sacrificial lamb, will never strike down your child because you had a temporary moral failing. So why would such incidents occur? I return to Satan.
The most important action of a Christian is spreading the Good Word. It is incumbent upon you to let others know that you are saved, and they can be saved, too. Through your testimony, you invite the Holy Spirit into the room and into the hearts of the individual who is hearing your profession of faith. Every time you, the good Christian, helps to lead another soul to Christ, you are denying a soul from Satan. Thus, consider this thought for a moment: bad things happen to good Christians because Satan wants to stop you from professing your Salvation and the love you have for Jesus Christ.

When we are consumed with the earthly pain of loss, we are less likely to express the spiritual gain of Christ. Our hearts are redirected toward that which we are experiencing. Our proclamations are less impactful. Our emotions are raw. We have a hard time seeing the love of God, let alone communicating that love to those who do not yet know it exists. As we dwell on our anger or sadness, Satan smiles. Yet, in this point of lowliness, the good Christian knows that all of Satan’s minor victories are temporary. Satan always loses and good Christians are rewarded.
Christians in a time of crisis are often implored to turn to the story of Job when confronted with a faith-shaking event. In that profound story, Satan is granted permission by God to test him. Job, a faithful man who is richly blessed, loses everything in the blink of an eye. Yet, Job never loses faith. Ultimately, Job gets a wish granted by God – the opportunity to ask, “Why?” To which God effectively answers that some things are beyond the ability of human beings to understand. Job is subsequently showered with greater blessings than he had before as a reward for his faith. I love the book of Job, but it is not the book of Job into which a Christian should turn to guidance and find comfort when bad things happen to them.
It is important to remember that our God – unlike every other “god” in the human experience – uniquely made Himself a man. While other “gods” never experienced the human condition, our God did. He felt the pains of hunger, thirst, walking, and work. He experienced temptation. He saw and felt sorrow. No other “god” did this. More importantly, unlike every other “god,” our God did not ask us to sacrifice ourselves to Him; He sacrificed Himself for us. Consider the profound implication of that love.
The Gospels, therefore, do not merely tell a story of a divorced “god” who ends ritual sacrifices. Rather, the Gospels tell the story of a Father who so loved us all, that He became Man, experienced our agonies, and then fulfilled the conditions He previously imposed on us. Our one true God does not allow His faithful children to remain in the grasps of Satan. He does not sanction Satan’s behavior, and He understands Satan’s motivations, the good Christian should know that he or she will be blessed with greater rewards by remaining faithful and continuing to spread the Gospel in times of personal torment.
Those rewards, by the way, may not manifest themselves on earth. That is OK. As a Christian, you know you have an eternal life from which to reap the rewards of the faith. A house fire will likely result in a replaced home in the near future. Physical comforts will be restored, even if physical memories are lost. In the event of sudden death, the physical will not be restored, but the spirit awaits you in a place to which you know you will soon reunite. A good Christian grieves the loss of someone because they will miss him or her in the short term, but they should be comforted knowing that they will see that special someone again, very soon. Satan cannot conquer the gift of Salvation and Eternal Life. Keeping this in mind, the way to reclaim victory is to continue being a good Christian. That means spreading the Word, even in times of sorrow or pain.

I will close with a final personal story that brought this thesis home to me. Years ago, my sister lost her baby after several months in the hospital. My niece was suffering from a congenital birth defect and despite their best efforts through surgeries, she succumbed at five months old, two days before Christmas. She had been baptized at the hospital, in a discreet way, due to the sensitivities of her immune system. When the tubes were withdrawn and her little body was cleaned and wrapped, she was held for a period of time by my sobbing sister and her husband. Eventually, she was buried in a family grave in Western Ireland. At some point shortly after the funeral, I asked her how she was doing. She replied without tears, “I’m OK. I know that right now, she is swaddled and being rocked to sleep by Jesus.”
With that profession of faith, Satan lost yet again.
Stay Blessed,Padraig Martin
For more from Padraig, find his content on gab or over at Identity Dixie for other posts