Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the recent death of Charles Manson, the notorious cult leader and murderer, marvels that The New York Times has morphed into an extreme, far-leftist, propaganda organ committed to attacking traditional values, especially if they emanate from Christianity or conservatism. An op-ed by Baynard Woods, where he asserts that Charles Manson was a precursor to the alt-right, comparing him to Ted Cruz, makes this commitment evident. Woods and others fail to comprehend that Communists and Nazis share the left side of the Right-Left continuum, both making common cause with collectivist, big government, socialism. In point of fact, there was nothing conservative about Manson, whose commune-domiciled followers hoped to start a race war by killing white people. Professor Woods and The New York Times are diligently fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 5:20 by calling evil good and good evil, while at the same time demonstrating that the mainstream media, bent on reconstructing history, is no friend of the truth. Anyone who wants to know the truth must approach the media with discernment, care, and healthy skepticism.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing on Paul's declaration that he would become all things to all men, suggests that Paul had the capability of seeing the truths of the Bible from several different cultural paradigms, namely an honor-shame continuum and a power-fear continuum, familiar to Hebrew and Middle-Eastern cultures, and an innocence-guilt continuum, familiar to those of us in the Western world, influenced by an admixture of Judeo-Christian ethic, Roman law, and Greek philosophy. Without a working knowledge of all three cultural paradigms, we have major blind-spots in interpreting and understanding the scriptures, culturally insulated like a fish out of water. Those of us in the Western world, steeped in the guilt-innocent paradigm, have a keen focus on right and wrong and tend to be highly individualistic, abhorring group-think and collectivist behavior. The language of this paradigm includes justice, pardon, works, wrath, mercy, right actions, doing what is right as measured against an abstract law. Those at home with the honor and shame paradigm define right and wrong in terms of group relationships. Whatever behavior brings shame on the group is to be shunned, as exampled by the shame the older brother felt as a result of the actions of "the prodigal son." In this parable, Christ enlightens us about the paradox that suffering shame for the sake of righteousness is in honor. A profoundly ingrained "pecking order" characterizes a power-fear culture, which is by definition fiercely hierarchical, with a strong man at the top. Each person below must either cower or put himself under the power of a protector. The language of Ephesians 1:15-23, combat language describing Satan as the adversary and Christ putting everything under His feet, resonates with individuals living in a power-fear culture. As we read the Bible, we find that God employs a blend of all three cultural paradigms, encouraging us to free ourselves from the bondage of cultural myopia and ethnocentrism in order to get more out the scriptures.
Richard Ritenbaugh, examining Thomas Seeley's analysis of the swarm instinct of bee cultures, and sociologists' attempt to link that wired-in animal instinct to human behavior (opting usually for collective groupthink), suggests that there is a balanced approach to applying community behavior to Christian living, especially when we apply Paul's body analogies in Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12 God's admonition that we learn from the ant does not teach us to yield to a hierarchical system but, rather, to unselfishly participate in a community, the final goal being its edification. Swarm behavior, flock behavior, and herd behavior, according to Tom Seeley is more democratic than authoritarian (as assumed in previous models). In the Body of Christ, we similarly work as an interdependent body of believers, serving one another, laboring for a common goal, as is rehearsed annually through God's appointed feasts and Holy days, all of which have unique qualities and lessons. On Pentecost, the priests baked loaves with leavening, representing those set apart before Christ's earthly ministry and those set apart after His ministry. We are obligated to be team players, looking after the needs of the entire body. Our rugged individualism must be tempered with the knowledge that we are part of a larger, interdependent body. Though God called us all individually, we need to think of ourselves as a part of the community, being just as protective of the flock as is our Elder Brother. Whether we are branches of a vine, God's field, God's building, God's flock, or the very bride of Christ, the common denominator is that God has designed us to serve one another. If we, as servants and fellow family members, all do our part, God will give the increase. There ought not be schisms in the Body; we will be living together eternally.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on Nikita Khrushchev's statement, "We will bury you," points out that this seems to be coming eerily true. Khrushchev clarified this statement, suggesting that the working class of America would turn to communism as their savior. Apparently, this has already taken place as is witnessed by Americans desiring to enslave themselves to the government in return for security. America has been surrounded by socialistic and communist countries; they own our debt. We are in hoc to them up to our eyeballs, and we are blind to the consequences of our self-centered, gullible behavior. The communists preached victimization and relativism to us; the major political party in America has picked up this victimization theme, and has crammed socialism down the throats of the entire citizenry. Socialist collectivist countries (Communist Russia/Nazi Germany) also embrace the final solution of the holocaust and concentration camps, disposing of the "undesirables."
... Instead of Rand and her radical individualism, the Bible is the most important source for understanding who we are and what our responsibilities are. How, then, does God view the individual? ...
Philosophers and ethicists, steeped in humanism, shoot wide of the truth in answering, 'Who is my neighbor?' Charles Whitaker explains that the Bible reveals the answer to this big moral question, as well as providing sensible guidelines on the finer details of Christian charity.
John Ritenbaugh reveals that God intended land to be the basis for all wealth, desiring that families should own and retain property. The Jubilee Laws indicate that God never intended any kind of state collective (or corporate) ownership of property, but that families should retain what has been given to them. The Federal Government, through confiscatory taxes, has violated the commandment against stealing- modeling theft for society at large. Beside predatory street crime (dramatically on the increase), blue collar and white-collar theft have even more dramatically contributed (and continue to contribute) to the demise or failure of many large businesses and to the economic woes of our country in general- literally stealing from (the inheritance of) future generations. In modern Israel, we are drowning in thievery, forcing the land to vomit us out. Wealth accumulated by honest work and diligence will be blessed, but hastily acquired by any kind of theft or dishonesty will be cursed.
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