I share here some personal experiences from a recent family event where the contrast between group-think & so-called ‘professional’ opinion opposes the godliness of Independent Thought. Basically when we submit to others, we inherit not only the power associated with that source of authority, but also the evil inherent in that authority thus we limit life experience, learning & development. In summary I have found that the Truth requires personal commitment in the light of any personal revelation and that this in turn requires independent thinking if we want to be honest with ourselves. Enjoy!
I’ll mask names and places to protect individual privacy as much as possible but the event was a family one involving the Maori culture, and individuals from different countries and backgrounds.
The premise of this post is that Truth is an absolute – it exists and that readers want to know it. Thus the majority of people reading this will opt-out. Fair enough, but if I do speak the truth then it is likely a direct challenge to those mentioned within. I conceal your names and identities out of respect.
Power & Authority
Submission is an acknowledgement of power and authority. This is at any and every level from family to work, social and at a big-picture level as well – globally. We generally choose to obey the laws of the land (such as tax laws, criminal laws and social laws) because we respect the authority claimed by the State. Track it back doing due diligence and you will find (like I have) that this is ultimately worship of something other than the Lord, thus is idolatry.
The State gets its authority by deception and force.
First, the principle of democracy is worshiped. We now believe in it as the “best form of government” (thanks in a large part due to Churchill’s chicanery and double-talk!). Then from that ungodly position the power and authority of the people is vested to the State by way of democratic systems (voting).
God does not force compliance – we are not puppets – thus we have an uneasy situation developing where corrupted rebellious mankind is free to and does develop systems to amplify power against God. Injustice creeps in due to mankind’s fallen nature, and might is used for increasing and solidifying that power. Essentially the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I’ve documented this many times in the past in regards to Samoa, and its utterly corrupt political leadership, but it happens equally in the Western world.
When we submit to some form of authority, we inherit the power that that authority bestows upon us. This is why I never accepted the offer from six different villages to take a Matai title, nor to apply for Samoan citizenship – which I would have been granted, at the time.
When we work for a company and are loyal and productive we have opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. That’s the power. But the other side is that we inherit the unsavoury characteristics of the entity, thus their form of evil is also imbibed. You can see this with an aggressive company that is happy to bend or break the rules for profit. Their staff must conduct themselves in like manner in order to retain their employment and they too will eventually display those same characteristics, personally.
In a social situation this too becomes apparent such as I have described in Samoa. Those who go against the political establishment (personified by current PM Tuila’epa’s dictatorship) are ostracised, their social standing is reduced and their pathways into a prosperous future are actively eliminated. Dissidents like myself are simply removed so that TPTB can retain control. This is also the heart of the accusations leveled at Tuila’epa with his involvement in the political assassination. As OLP has revealed, power is retained in Samoa through fear – an effective tool of corruption.
I know the true nature of democracy and how it is used by the elite, contrary to the express purposes of God. Therefore I do not vote. Voting is essentially a prayer. It is participating in a system where we tell God that we trust mankind’s system of government over His, and regardless of who is pulling the strings, we will willingly submit to the whims of the 51% – truth be damned. I have more wisdom, faith & integrity than that! The world as a whole is yet to learn how they have been and are actively duped in this sense. Global learning cannot occur until the implosion occurs though as the system is self-perpetuating, defends its existence and the status quo will remain until it is so corrupted and unsustainable that it fails.
One of the stories recounted to me this weekend was the drilling into American military cadets of utter obedience. Power in a military sense requires absolute obedience. Personal Initiative and Independent Thought are threats to any military machine, just as the truth spoken with authority like I have done is a threat to the Samoan Powers That Be.
Balling out juniors in the American Military for thinking, rather than blind obedience was presented as funny, and the butt of a joke (which is indeed valid) yet the concept of voluntary submission to a politically based war machine is (or at least should be) an anathema to a genuine Christian. Indeed, any person with a recognition that they can choose where to place their loyalties, has the potential to change the world, and that blind commitment to a mechanical enforced blind obedience is a direct disabler of Christian creativity. Just because Donald Trump is their Commander in Chief, and just because the establishment has determined that men would attempt to kill and are prepared to die in a certain country or place does NOT make our conduct good, or godly. Throw in political deception, corruption and hidden agendas and you have a real recipe for subverting goodness, fairness & godliness.
I’m no longer a pacifist. My Samoan experiences cured me of that immaturity. There are indeed some [rare] situations that I would shoot to kill when defending something of value, but wholesale and total commitment to warfare with blind obedience – nah! I know way too much now to believe that my blind obedience to Uncle Sam’s war activities is godliness.
Before I come onto the solution from a Christian perspective, I deal with a few other similar situations – Maori culture, ‘professional’ opinions & the humility challenge.
A furor developed in the family due to changed circumstances. Maori tradition is that if there is a death then the Tangi process will occur in and around planned events. The organiser of this event said, “No! I will move my event elsewhere rather than co-habit with a dead body!” All hell broke loose as a result and as is the Maori way, talk, talk, talk. I know a lot more than I reveal here about the circumstances which lean in one side’s favour as I see it, but with certain provisos.
What is not in dispute though was the diagnosis by a Maori family elder who stated emphatically that the disputed decision/conduct would bring about a curse. Death would result from it, he said, and they didn’t want to bring about that trouble upon the family/village. Acts undertaken to protect that ‘traditional’ position were far from loving, thus we essentially had a fight between fear and love. This was also, in this situation a division between the older generation and the younger one.
By and large, the Maori people (like the Samoans I have blogged about at length) are superstitious, certainly a lot more than the Westerners. Deep meaning is ascribed to events that we in the West ignore or do not value or do not make connections in the same way. This is a cultural difference.
For example, our whakapapa is important to us only in the sense that our skin colour calls us Caucasian or that our eyes call us Asian; and we may know that our great-grand-father may have come originally from Britain, or lived in Christchurch, but the deeper connection with our past is generally relatively unimportant. Not so in Maori culture.
Likewise with the expected curse of running two events in the same valley at two locations raising the ire of [whoever] and death resulting, to the Western mind this is simply crazy superstition, whereas to the older Maoris there it is truth – they’ve seen it and understand why their elders taught them to avoid bringing on curse.
My take is that there is a degree of validity to both positions – there is indeed a correlation between the spiritual and the physical, but when subservience to a cultural belief system requires a coldness and hardness that hurts others, it obviously misses the boat.
Again, I will present the Christian position on this a little later.
I also witnessed two situations where people shared with me diagnosis from the professional quarters. In one, a guy had been diagnosed with some form of medical trauma that caused the boffins to say, “He’ll never [whatever]!” He told me that he and his mother worked hard to ensure that this situation never developed and indeed a couple of decades later he can and does laugh at the ‘professional’ diagnosis proven wrong.
Good on ‘im too I say. What he and his mother achieved was an independence of thought, and actions that saw a different vision to that given by the authority. Their ‘vote’ if you will was for a more positive future, and the results came in to show them in retrospect that they were right. They had greater wisdom than the ‘professionals’ of the day. I define wisdom as knowing the heart and mind of God in any given situation. In this sense, even though the people in this situation didn’t consciously note God’s intent, their actions and beliefs aligned with His, thus blessing resulted.
In another [potential] failure of ‘professionals’ a girl that I met and spent quite a bit of time with asked me how other people could know and understand her motives. This came in the context of ‘professional’ diagnosis of psychiatric & medical troubles. She had had some pretty nasty childhood traumas and didn’t really ‘get’ some social norms. People had previously accused her of attention-seeking and playing games. I never saw any of that despite engaging quite meaningfully with her and suggested that she should back herself as it was important to her identity. She thought she had pure motives and that others misunderstood her actions. I could see that, so she was either deluded or they got it wrong.
Others from outside can of course make assessments of behaviour and likely causes – if she’s got PTSD as a result of a childhood experience or two sure, I can accept that and see how truncated emotional growth could occur. If she has symptoms of psychiatric issues relating to social norms that I can see and believe, then sure, let them stick a label on it . . . but it is a huge step to go from there to accuse her of doing “goofy sh*t” in order to gain attention, which appears to have been the case in a few situations. I predict that her current minders will have big problems if she ever stands up to them and they don’t adjust their take.
The point I am making here is not any diagnosis being right or not, it is that there are times and places when it is a sign of maturity and when it is godly to back yourself. If this means rejecting the authorities of the moment, and societal norms, then according to the Creator, He says, “Go for it!!” The obvious proviso of course is that you will need to be able to take the consequences, good and bad. You may have the freedom from oppression, but instead gain the ire of those you have snubbed. Wisdom is required.
The appropriate saying here is that if you can’t hack the heat, then get out of the kitchen. If you end up out of the frying pan and into the fire, it may not have been worth the independence.
Backing yourself is a risk, but God has given us all a brain and freewill choice for a reason. I chose to take on Tuila’epa, Samoa’s Prime Minister knowing full well that I could lose all. In fact I even baited him TO kick me out when I told him that he should “have my immigration status reviewed” in a testy engagement after he had read my book Corruption in Samoa. The point was though that I consciously chose to take him on and reveal his mistress. He had ripped me off and she had been the cause. While I lost all as a result, as long as I continue to speak the truth, I now have credibility to boot. He though is shown up to be corrupt, immoral, a hypocrite and a coward – forever.
To those challenged by authority in our motives, decisions of a social nature and that involve ethics and natural justice, I would say, if you think you are clean, back yourself. If you are wrong, no big deal, there will be a price to pay. If you are right, you too will hear the words that I live for, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Ahhh! Just the thought of that . . .
Obedience & Humility
I was also asked at how I was coping now, coming up to two years back from Samoa, specifically in regards to humility. “Was I more humble after being humbled?”
It’s a good question which needs the context given by understanding the above quote:
the words that I live for [are], “Well done good and faithful servant!”
When we live for other reasons – either to feel good or happy, or to bring up our children to a certain standard or in a certain way, or to comply with a set of rules – be they moral or religious or cultural; or to appease a certain sector of society; or to achieve something socially or financially, we miss the critical aspect of relationship. In this sense I talk of the relationship with our Creator.
Without getting super-religious about this in my case, I was in Samoa purely and simply out of obedience. I explained this to the PM on our first meeting. I corrected my wife at the time when she talked about being there to help the Samoans. Yes, we could and were and did help them but it was obedience first and foremost. I also shared this extensively with others during my stay.
Pride is the cause of all evil including relationship breakdowns. I have to humble myself and let the consequences of moving to, engaging with and being booted out of Samoa, trusting that God, the One who called me there, has other things in mind now. I have to trust that even though following my Samoan adventure I can only see pride and pain, He had a purpose in mind in taking me there and letting me experience what I did. When I am humble I do not need to count the cost – personally, socially or financially. I also don’t need to know the reason why either. I think He’s big enough to know what He wants from my commitment!
So in the natural I was humbled, by losing everything I owned and getting trashed as a human being by some pretty small-thinking people, but I did remain faithful; I did do what I believe that He wanted, thus I am certain that I will hear the words from my maker when my time is up. If speaking it like it is requires humility, then that is my humility in the face of being humbled.
I received an email from a past guest, volunteer and you HAVE to say good friend (as he puts it) “your favourite bearded German” in which he asks of me and my welfare:
I hope you’re allright there at the other side of the planet. But tell me, how are you doing? Have there been any storms or other trouble the last couple years? [he obviously thinks that I am still in Samoa]
Your favourite bearded German, [name withheld]
How do you tell a guy on the other side of the world who cares, who really cares so much that years after a short encounter in Paradise that his enquiry means so much but that it has all been destroyed at the hands of an angry coward of a man who got pissed off with me because I dared to tell the world who his floosey really was? Hundreds and hundreds of people came through our programmes up there in Samoa and some, like this guy, had encounters that were healthy, educational, great for Samoa and sometimes deeply meaningful.
Oh sure, I argued and fought with this guy over everything under the sun but – big deal – the thing we gave each other was respect. He calls me “Nisi”, my favourite. It’s an abbreviation of “Tenisi” a Samoan transliteration of Dennis. He understands that My parents call me Dennis; that Samoans who recognise my Samoan sensitivities call me Tenisi (or sometimes Kenisi) but only my real mates call me, “Nisi’.
How can I be humble over doing this sort of thing that happened over, and over, and over again, and in a foreign country, immediately following a horrific Tsunami and in spite of racial prejudice that spilled over into open hatred, and eventually total loss.
You can’t, except to say, well I did it and I fully expect to hear those magic words!
The Biblical Principle
Truth requires a personal response. My Short Story The Wall explains this. Please read it if you haven’t already. Truth is like a wall . . . it exists. Those who dispute this have a logical dilemma*. Our response to truth determines whether we engage meaningfully, deny it, fight it, ignore it or attempt to subvert it.
Our aim should be to gain, retain and build a strong, living relationship with Jesus. Note that the criteria for acceptance post-death (and also today here on earth BTW) is a relationship. Sure, we can all get and understand the “well done” part but look with holy fear at the second part of this description of accountability, “Get away from me, for I never KNEW you!” Ouch! That’s a heavy one!
Independence of Thought is paramount to maintaining a healthy relationship with the Creator. If He shook the world to its foundations by showing us what it meant to have a relationship with our Father, is it not likely and logical that He would expect us too to have the same? And in case you think that I am advocating ANY thing religious or to do with church my response is an emphatic, “Not on your Nelly!” and for the exact same reason as explained in this post – submission and subservience to ANY system – be it cultural, political, financial or religious denies us the very thing that the Lord seeks – a personal relationship.
There is more to all of this, particularly in relation to the mainstream [Christian] church which of course does good things but due to WHAT it is, limits the growth of its attendees and adherents to its own vision and leadership.
We have an ultra-creative God. He seeks a personal relationship with us, individuals. He has given us freewill choice and has maintained that position to date, stating that it will remain to the end of time. It does require guts and independent thought to initially make and continue to choose to retain relationship. My experience is that there is a peace that transcends reason when we walk in His hand in ours. We are immune from things like curses of death due to cultural matters. The power we have within us causes evil to flee, or certainly (like the Samoan fool who took on a man of God) to raise their ugly head and become a bigger target.
My advice, as always is to HEAR and OBEY. Actively seek to divine truth. Listen to it – be this an increased heartbeat or a thought that will not go away or even voices in your head or dreams. In time you will find that you do not need to seek His voice – just as you know what your spouse is thinking you too will have that wisdom – knowing His heart and mind in any given situation.
Obedience, the second part of that advice requires faith. It’s so, so, so very simple.”Yes, Lord!”
So simple, yet our pride makes it so bl**dy difficult at times!
Thanks for swinging by today and slip along to my Short Stories if you haven’t read any thus far. I mentioned The Wall, but the Little Red Penguin is for those who are different, and You Never Know for those who believe in blind obedience to [the likes of] Military Power. There’s more, too.
* The fool once said, “I do not believe in absolutes!” [In other words’ Absolutes do not exist!’]
A wise man replied, “And you are absolutely sure of that?”
An even wiser man now replied, “I think I am confused!”
. . . from there mutual respect, if not agreement, flowed.