First sip in the coffee shop packed with people from God —
They have come here to do something — their intentions are unclear: to confer?
The root of the word means "with" though I suspect it shares more semantics with the colloquial "con" meaning swindle, or one who does so.
Lord, Thy Kingdom come, indeed.
The hour seems late (I know your timing is perfect; my task is to ask).
On the street, against the stubborn lawful orange hand I saw two negroes walking, smoking 'baccy, king & queen in exile.
From one home, torn. From the next, rejected. Into the next, only politically accepted.
This is the cold-faced North,
Not most have been so fortunate.
Inside, & off the streets, and not a single bike outside,
sit either the children of oppressors or of complacency, which by its right name is called evil. Their laughs: forced & concealing fear. Their speech: clipped. They know what they have done is wrong & they know not how to right it.
They have heard there is a formula, they have heard there is a program if they follow then their guilt will be assuaged, then God, you will make them prosper, make them prosper, make me prosper, bestow, have favor, Lord have favor we ask this in daddy's name, Abba Abba Abba as you have blessed the Jews look on us as new Israel Israel Israel bless our talk in coffee shops our public prayer Lord we just, we just we just now pray a covering over this place, we just now ask we ask we ask we ask thank you thank you thank you we call we call we call
like literally we call. Let's go treasure-hunting, cry the lords of pleasure and of plunder: European sensibilities, American extravagance, let's go burn some diesel to #liveauthentic. Like David in the wilderness, let's #liveauthentic.
The thing with the thing is that the thing is like, so.
It is literally so. It is literally so. Let's go to Haiti, Ohmagaw let's go to Chicago let's go downtown (let's go anywhere but here at anytime but now).
Denny says, Kris shared, Bill said (so annointed), Dave said, Beni said, did you hear what anyone but me said? Like, as soon as I get the chance I'll write a book of my own but until then let me develop my associative pedigree.
I know Facebook is like & whatever, but I just had to share this quote I superimposed on a photo of a forest that my friend who's a photographer (do you know them? they're so talented yeah they do weddings & engagements & destiny dates & Facebook friendships) took.
Like oh my god. Like literally O my God your people, the lost 12 tribes wander these streets strung out like a long slow lynching, preaching the truth with no need for an audience, not that these luts would listen but if they did, if they shut up & listened, what do you think they would hear if they could feel the warm spittle fresh from the speaker's lips?
Mix it with a little mud & maybe they could see, maybe their eyes would open, & there, in a bona fide glory cloud, the light of the Lord would shine in those haggard eyes, of Benjamin, of Dan, of Gad & Manasseh.
I don't know, maybe that's what they teach in second year. Maybe it is literally so.
Bethel is full of people who have travelled far from home. The majority of them leave in 1-3 years, that being the term of their education. They bring many ideas about how a society should function and, to the extent possible, manifest those ideas. Their presence here exerts considerable pressure on those who call this place home. So far, none of these facts are either positive or negative. As a phenomenon, the congregation is as neutral as all phenomena. Its members compose a diverse mix of personalities, representative of the whole human population, lacking only in diversity by the threads they share in common: Christianity, & relocation from their place of birth. In general, its members compose a diverser mix than the local population — this because their population is constantly changing and maintains, even depends upon, a throughput of new persons & personalities.
This all said, there is a tension between the locals & the Bethaliens. The locals blame the Bethaliens for a host of problems. Some claims are founded, others are mere xenophobia. The onus of discriminating the two lies on the locals.
The most significant claim that can be leveled against the congregation is that it interrupts the natural socio-economic development of residents not connected with the church. See: "Gentrification." BSSM attendees tie up housing availability in a cycle involving the following factors: funded temporary residents — nominally harmonious with the town's protestant ethos — occupy prime housing, without developing roots to feed back to the town. They develop a network of connections through the staggered grades of the school to form a chain of occupants able to pay well without integrating into the town's proper culture, a sort of transient bourgeoisie. People who want to develop roots in the area to create a lasting culture are choked by this chain. Those who fall out of favor with the church are even more actively choked.
This brings me to the second valid claim concerning the church: its social, and by extension, political influence. As its members are largely transient, their energy can be easily diverted by the persons for whom they have come to be influenced by. I repeat: they have come to Redding to be influenced by Bethel's pastors. Similar to the way in which students come to a university to be influenced by their professors, Bethel attendees come not only to be academically influenced but explicitly to be ideologically influenced. The social tendencies of these attendees are not rooted in the facts of their locality, but derived second-hand from a very few who are locals — their pastors & teachers. In turn, these teachers are largely influenced by the foreign attendees in a feedback loop, instead of a normal distribution of influenced based in the nature of the area. In this way, an ungrounded and globalized social theory prevails, instead of one that is rooted in the nuances of the particular area. This is significant: while a broad understanding of the world is necessary to make the travels requisite for attendance, a nuanced understanding of a particular area is required to improve that area.
With these two points illuminated, I can dismiss a few baseless claims against the church — primarily indicated by the claim that it is "trying to take over the city," through busyness, political, and other ventures. This is distinctly separate from the previous, founded point. It is a baseless claim to the degree that it is made by people who believe in capitalism or the efficacy of the American democratic political process. Bethel attendees have become numerous enough that even a small percentage who settle & start busynesses account for a large amount in a small town desolated by the retail apocalypse. The simple fact that these settlers have decided to start busynesses or political forces and have found enough support from their fellow attendees is not enough to make a claim of malevolence. What Bethel attendees have done commercially or politically is simply a new version of the process endemic in the system: they have bought favor with donations, well-funded advertising campaigns, held closed-door meetings, and committed nepotism. All these processes can not be made illegal nor their outcomes criticized because the very system of free-market capitalism and democratic law-making depend on them, and has been built by them. Criticism of the church's participating in these activities is futile if it comes from a perspective that defends the democratic, capitalist process itself.
C. PREDICTION & PROPHECY
That said, Bethel will destroy itself as a church to the degree that it syncretizes with the Empire. A lot of people are going to get hurt when Bethel goes under, or gets deflated. A lot of people are going to lose a lot and not all of what is lost should be lost. A lot of good, fair, and tricked people are going to be left bewildered and it will engender a lot of pain and resentment. This must happen because the opposite is occurring right now. A lot of energy is being unfairly siphoned into a reservoir by way of trickery, facilitated by ignorance. The process will reverse and those who have stood idly by will continue to stand idly by, blowing backwards in the draft. Many of those who watched and nodded their approval and encouraged the current circumstances will be those who lose the most, and that too is rightly so. And some of those same will escape unpunished to continue. This too is rightly so, because some of those who hurt right now will lash back in the coming backlash and their lashes will be unfairly harsh. This is because they do not understand their current pain. They will see the coming collapse not as cyclic but as some eternal judgement, which it will not be. Those who hurt right now who can forgive their oppressors will receive what is owed them when it inevitably arrives, and, if they are wise, will take no more than that. If they take more than they are given, then they will become those from whose demise they profited. The current attitude of entitlement stems from a twisted sense of justice that says the victim is entitled to become the victor.
What I mean to say is that this isn't any different from the Empire.
You give their centurions swords, but today you call them drones.
You prop their puppets up because they have learned the game that gives you gold: stamped with Caesar's bust. These too will rust.
You take out loans from Caesar's banks, you feed each other Caesar's medicine, teach your children Caesar's thoughts.
There is a motion upward; God calls us to Himself.
But you continue to delude yourself.
You want as man has always wanted: to believe yourselves, vaunted, above any other, able to bestow salvation: "You get a police patrol, and you get a flak jacket; everybody gets salvation!"
Not false is not true.