Living in two worlds

When strange things happen, it’s best to face them plainly. I took down the last post I wrote because I’m not sure what combination of Holy Spirit and dopamine was involved in its composition. If God does indeed possess prophets, then it would be impossible for that not to look like a psychiatric incident in our world today. But I am a pastor with a responsibility not to frighten people God has given me to love into discipleship. So I want you to know I’m okay and I need your prayers to try to make sense of what happened.

I’ve been coming to the perspective that the powers and principalities talked about in the Bible are not things like UN or Wall Street so much as they are what Slavoj Zizek calls the Real. It’s the normal that humanity is hypnotized into accepting. It’s what makes it not seem ludicrous to us that little white and green pieces of paper are more valuable than the material products they purchase. It’s also what makes us say, “Get a job!” when we drive past a bunch of 21st century hippies trying to create a new civilization in public space that isn’t really public.

Living comfortably within the normal makes us feel safe but also anxious at the same time. I used to have dreams all the time in which I found myself in my classroom at school naked and had to figure out how to make clothes out of my papers and books before anybody could notice. I guess now I live with an analogous awkwardness. When I tried to deny that I spoke in tongues before, it was genuinely because I didn’t want to mock God but also because I’m an endocrinologist’s son, not some weirdo I a tinfoil hat (no offense to others who share the gift). Now God has forbidden me to deny it. I don’t know what that means except that I’m not going to use it unless God makes me.

Regarding prophetic insight, I need confirmation from others before I’m going to own completely what I was given two nights ago. Nothing I said was not already a part of what I basically believe so it could have been a manic explosion of my own thoughts. I have a psychiatrist. I’m taking a medicine that helps with both anxiety and mood stabilization. Unless my general ability to function seems impaired over time, I don’t think I will make any major changes.

I do believe that we are absolutely called upon to fight spiritual warfare against the powers and principalities that create normals which are oppressive. The one thing that was given to me that I am going to own is that the weapons of this war are the sword of truth, the sacraments of the church, a contrite spirit, and a crucified flesh. We need to be reading our Bibles, we need to take communion, we need to confess our sins and pray in general, and we need to engage in various forms of fasting. It is the powers of oppressive normals that need to be fought for our world to be redeemed.

17 thoughts on “Living in two worlds

    • Zizek is important because he’s saying the same thing as Paul about the demonic forces in the world (in a different way) except that he has some goofy stupid stuff too. Communism is indeed a beautiful idea that is still beautiful if it’s never worked. The only means of making it work is to have a redemptive, mercy-generating event that serves as the core of reconstituting a society that way. You can’t just kill off the counter-revolutionaries because then everybody will eventually become a counter-revolutionary.

      • Yes, 100 million dead people is indeed beautiful. Though abortion in America is coming close to the halfway point of communism’s body count, so we have nothing to be proud of, really.

        No normal person would want Communism instituted. It is disgusting in both theory and practice. So there is no “mercy-generating event” that would cause the entire population to change over to that way of thinking. The only way to institute Communism is to kill off the counter-revolutionaries. And that has been the only way it’s happened so far. See Stalin’s purges, Mao’s purges, etc.

        I know you’re big into LGBT rights, Morgan, so you might want to ask gay people in Cuba how that revolution worked out for them.

        • Oh mercy. If we actually loved Jesus, then we wouldn’t need to make up stories about how all poor people are lazy, irresponsible scumbags and we’re hard-working slaves who make our fingers bleed over every dollar we passively earn through our investments. You love your ideologies a lot. Do you love Jesus more or less? The vision of people giving according to their skills and taking according to their needs is a Christian vision. It just can’t be done in an atheist state. Karl Marx tragically tried to create the body of Christ without Christ. That’s all I’m saying. And it ain’t the body of Christ if people sit in anonymity in giant praise stadiums where they pretend like what they’re experiencing is community. The body of Christ is a place where people take care of each other. Capitalism is a beautiful vision too in theory insofar as it describes people being obedient to the lead of the Holy Spirit which is what true entrepreneurship is. The problem is that we have a form of capitalism now where the money never leaves Wall Street. Wealth creation has been divorced from job creation. I pray that Jesus will shatter your ideological slavery so that you can have the full inheritance of His glory. Please let me know when that happens to you. Blessings.

      • Actually it’s more like a 160 million death toll – 100 million of which were civilians. But anyway, I don’t think it is communism as a system that did this (nor do I believe – as Morgan seems to suggest) that atheism has much to do with it (the word atheism was definitely in those manifests of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot – as much as Christianity was in Mein Kampf) – a dictator will always use things like existing infrastructures and ideas that are on the verge of being or becoming popular for whatever reason. And the spirit was more like one of insubordination.

        Even in France the Jacobins had slaughtered their own (atheist!) encyclopedists who started the revolution (they killed their own mother so to speak – you don’t need a particular belief for that – this is just power intoxication. People are out of their mind, they were not thinking anymore, just doing, trying to hold on to a mirage, no matter the cost. Recklessly destroying the old in order to achieve the new – burning their bridges behind them. In this, communism has something to learn from how Business operates works in capitalism.

        Actually Capitalism has constantly been changing and evolving all the time. But to defeat greed requires much more than a system. Greed could easily flourish under Communism as well.

        One common mistake: Jesus the first socialist (or: communist). In fact Jesus was not about socialism at all. He just resisted the peer pressure of his time, the deliberate disregard of the poor and hungry, the outcasts and the lonely people. Again: systems cannot change hearts. They can, however, offer support once people know what they really want and need in their lives.

        • Very astute, brother. The reason capitalism is corrupt in our country is it’s been complemented by a Christianity that has accommodated itself to bourgeois worldliness rather than a prophetic Christianity that creates entrepreneurial ways to care for the poor and sick and then challenges those with means to support these efforts. Of course the latter is happening, just not enough.

  1. I have been reading your blog for the last few months and find you to be one of the most grounded intellectually and spiritually blogger out there. I did not see the post of two days ago. I wish I had. Perhaps you have been given a gift that you never sought; perhaps you’ve just had a break with reality. Whatever happened, God was present and also offering full redemption to the situation. You will be in my prayers.

  2. I won’t blame you for letting disappear my long comment with your blog, but I think you shouldn’t be afraid to be more rational about these things (just my opinion). When people write something, and especially a blog like the one you wrote, it’s not something they come up with overnight. There’s perhaps a few new ideas, but most of it will rest firmly upon a foundation of life experience and the quest for meaning that we are involved in somehow. And this is interesting. Yes, some people might have been scared off a bit, – and god knows how useful it sometimes is to get scared of a few new ideas. And, by the way, what kind of scared are we talking about then? Fear of judgment or rather the “fear of the Lord” that you were writing about? It could be a conflation of two fears…

    I have a sense of agreeing and not agreeing with what you write. But this is normal – we are all different people and different thinkers. You say “We need to be reading our Bibles” – yes but we may also need to interpret it better, and put things in context of our own culture. We “need to confess our sins”? Perhaps – but we also need to know what sins we are talking about. There is a lot of ultra-judgmental attitude emerging within Christianity today – that could be sin too, maybe the worst of all sins (because to judge when you’re not being appointed as the judge of the world would be arrogance). There is really a need for Christians to go and face their demons, an being to scared to do this won’t be helpful. Granted we shouldn’t be reckless. But we need to be courageous as well.

    Engaging in various forms of fasting? I don’t know – as far as I see fasting often happens spontaneously when we skip a meal because we’re busy doing something important. I would call this the fasting as it happens on the ground, on the field. When you’re doing something great you don’t stop just because you feel a bit hungry. There are many good ways to do fasting.

    Do we need to fight against “the powers of oppressive normals”? That’s a tough one. Slavoj Zizek may be right about Wall Street, but let’s be careful: Tomas Sedlacek (former economist of Vaclav Havel) would say it’s time for consumers to stop blaming Wall Street – they need to look to themselves. Economy is all about morality, and Wall Street isn’t deciding about our morality. We do.

    I must admit I am not a bible literalism guy. Faith works through love (Gal.5) and the story of Nathan der Weise describes true religion – when we realize that people will believe something only when they can see the good it does in its followers. When Christians will be known as good, loving, compassionate people, that’s where people will be reminded of Christ. That’s the way it works – “the Real”, if you want.

    True “prophetic insight” is probably when people get educated by it rather than being judged (Paul talks about prophecy as being meant to educate). Look at a book like Revelation. The genre is prophecy. It’s a lot about judgment day and all that. But what is its meaning? Not to call for the judgment of the world of course. The whole point is a warning, so that these things might NOT happen – and there can be no doubt that in God’s heart (if God is Love), there is a desire that bad things do not have to happen. But in Christians, it sometimes seems like they are longing for the judgment of the world (like Jonah wanted Nineveh to be judged, or, like the fake mother of the child (that Solomon ordered to “cut in half) wanted to have the injustice of nature judged in that child. But Solomon didn’t do it. He expected someone to say “NO!” – and the real mother did. Real ‘mothers’ don’t want the world to be judged. Christians should be the carriers of a message of hope and love, rather than judging everyone (as it often goes these days), don’t you think? Just venting my opinion.

    You are a good writer. Just a bit too scared maybe. Don’t take your own writings down if they are a part of your quest for truth.

    Bless.

    • Thanks for the exhortation. I will consider reposting it. What I may do is break it up into pieces. You are absolutely right that Wall Street is not the only version of powers and principalities; it is the “normal” that we all participate in. We screw it up when we blame it on “the man.” Foucault had this insight about power. The only thing that gives the king his power is that his subjects are willing to be his subjects.

      • Well, as Chesterton wrote (through The man who was Thursday), the only crime of the supreme power is that it is supreme. He curses Government, not for being cruel but for being safe – sinning from within their arm chairs, in their mansion.

  3. I can only echo the previous comments and sentiments. I was sad to see the blog taken down as it rattled me in what I consider a positive manner. I don’t ever wish to become apathetic, complacent or content with what majority of society considers the acceptable ‘norm’, especially in regard to my faith and my walk with Christ. When you refer to speaking in tongues…I become uncomfortable as this is not a gift I’ve ever had and for the most part am skeptical of that sort of thing based on past bad experiences by way of ‘spectacles‘ and ‘displays’ for the benefit of mankind only, not the moving of the Holy Spirit and by no means bringing honor or glory to God. I don’t want to be though…I want to accept that God is without boundaries and limits and still does miraculous things. I want to accept that gifts are as much for this time as any time.
    I thank you for your transparency and for sharing your experiences, thoughts and feelings.
    I’m confident God will reveal what He would have you know in regard to recent happenings. May the Lord continue to strengthen, lead and guide you in all aspects of your life.
    Prayers being sent up on your behalf.

  4. It concerned me when I went back to reread your posting last evening, and it was gone…it had been on my mind all day. I am relieved to know you are ok (thank you for letting us know) all the while seeking discernment, and STILL putting thoughts to pen. We should never strive to be normal—that pebble in our shoe (as Christians) is there for a reason. You are very important to us, Morgan, and we all are praying for you.

  5. I echo Chris’s thoughts here, Morgan. I am praying for you and I am sure others are as well. And thank you for posting this today. It helps me to know that you are wrestling hard with what has happened to you and through you. Blessings on your day – and in the midst of the new and powerful you are experiencing, do not neglect good self-care – like enough sleep, healthy food, regular exercise. The prophet needs to be strong and healthy, because the battle is real.

  6. Morgan,

    Regardless of what combination of influences you may have been under, it was a fascinating and inspiring read. I would actually like to read it again if you’d like to send it to me. Furthermore, if you believe in the Incarnation it’s not so hard to imagine the Holy Spirit working through “crazy” people. Jesus was considered crazy, too.

    Just keep on doing what you’re doing, and don’t be ashamed. Sure, it might come out a little weird now and again, but aren’t we supposed to be “fools for Christ”?

    Peace,
    Chris

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