Dachau

Dachau: (n) a city in SE Germany, near Munich, the site of Nazi concentration camp.

We forget how dangerous populists can be—because they always say such popular things.

It would be difficult to be critical of a man proclaiming the delicious virtues of chocolate until you realized he was advocating only the consumption of chocolate—to the exclusion of everything else—thus leaving his followers to many dangerous acquired conditions.

Adolph Hitler was a populist.

Long before he was a dictator—perhaps even before he became maniacal—he was a public speaker touting the exceptional nature of the German people.

He explained to them how they had been mistreated among the Europeans after World War I and that it was necessary, for the good of their heritage, to rise up and be counted.

That’s how he started.

It was difficult to disagree with him. Germany had been devastated by the First World War. There was a need for some sort of pep rally, to inspire a renovation.

But as I said, long before populists become dictators, they seem to be prophets of possibility and messengers for magnification.

When does it change?

When do populists–who seem harmless–need to be recognized for their vicious natures and set to the side or pushed out of our lives, so we don’t elevate them to positions of authority, where all of their overwrought ideas can be manifested?

That’s easy.

When the populist starts making a group—a nationality, a gender, a lifestyle or a race—the source of all difficulty and preaches that the situation could be greatly alleviated by targeting these offending individuals.

For Hitler, it was the Jews.

Candidly, he would never have gotten away with killing Jews if the German people didn’t secretly harbor a deep-rooted prejudice against them. Going back to the music of Wagner and the lesser works of Martin Luther, there was an abiding notion in the Germanic tribe that the Jews were responsible for most evil things.

For you see, no populist could have brought about such a dastardly genocide of an innocent people without feeding off the nervous apprehension of those who came to hear.

The end result is Dachau—a prison camp organized for one purpose: to find unique and efficient ways to torture and annihilate the Jewish race.

Perhaps we should do ourselves a favor in this election season.

We should acknowledge that there are populists who desire to rule our country. Their messages may seem innocuous at this point. Matter of fact, it may appear that they are merely extolling the value of American purity or standing up for the poor and disenfranchised.

But listen carefully.

Are they whispering words of disdain, or even hatred, in the direction of a particular group of people?

What is it they are saying about humans with brown skin?

What is it they’re intimating about citizens with a lot of money?

What is their stand on gender equality?

What do they think about those brothers and sisters around them who are different?

I never listen to a populist—no matter how humorous or inspiring the message might seem.

For a populist who honors fat people will eventually do so by portraying that skinny people are evil.

And a populist who regales the beauty of being thin and healthy will eventually encourage you to hate the obese.

We can prevent Dachau.

We can remove the fuel from the ovens that killed millions of souls.

Stop feeling the need to constantly be encouraged, or eventually you will steal someone else’s dignity to supplement your own.

 

Charismatic

Charismatic: (adj) relating to the charismatic movement in the Christian Church.

Even in the midst of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenburg Church, symbolizing the beginning of the Reformation Movement and the Protestant rendition of the faith, my mind prefers to go back less than fifty years–when
those boundaries existing between Catholics and Protestants were melted away by a simple sweet spirit.

I had just begun traveling the country–a young man full of dreams and plagued by empty pockets–when suddenly the walls that had once stood strong between the denominations of the followers of Jesus began to tumble by a movement of the Holy Spirit.

Matter of fact, many of my first opportunities to sing and share ended up being in front of Catholic Charismatic meetings, where those who honored a Pope and offered wine and cheese for snacks, suddenly joined hands in prayer with their Protestant counterparts.

It was beautiful. It was childlike. It was awe-inspiriring and sometimes a bit clumsy.

One night at a McDonald’s, one of my Catholic brothers, in an attempt to validate his newfound freedom and faith, proclaimed to the entire table of hamburger-munchers that “Jesus wiped with the same hand we do.” Everybody graciously said a quiet “amen,” our Big Macs suddenly shrinking in appeal.

What were the ingredients that made this movement so successful?

  1. They didn’t take too much time discussing theology.
  2. Everyone became known as a “Charismatic” instead of identifying by their denominational nametag.
  3. Love and hugging were just as important as Bible study and prayer.
  4. The music was like children’s hymns, sung with tears.
  5. It unified.

The Charismatic Movement didn’t last very long. False teachers, televangelists and those who wanted to make a dime off of a penny’s worth of thoughts soon came in and ravaged the faithful.

But it truly was charismatic.

Charismatic in the sense of being totally charming.

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Anglican

dictionary with letter A

Anglican: (adj) relating to or denoting the Church of England or any Church in communion with it.

If my only job were to teach and promote atheism, I would choose, as a platform for my presentation, to just share pieces of church history.

In no time at all, the most ardent believer, based upon the information I shared, would shake his or her head, turn his or her back and walk away from the “stinky pew.”

Why? Because faith is meant to be a leap, not a step.

When men like Martin Luther, John Knox and John Wesley decided to depart from the Catholic Church, they eventually got around to holding committee meetings about who they would become, and ended up keeping much of the religious ceremony, traditions and superstitions of the Mother Church from which they allegedly wanted to orphan themselves from.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Anglican Church, which, when it came to America by boat, became the Episcopals. With its founder, Henry VIII (an unlikely theologian) it continued to take on the heavy burdens and abstract practices of the Church of Rome, while loosening the belt on the underbelly of less important issues.

It is the problem with the religious system–at least in the Christian faith.

Even though we have a movement which dubs itself Protestant, there really isn’t a lot of protesting going on. What actually occurred in the Reformation was a reaction instead of a revolution.

Rather than returning to the teachings of Jesus, which would have expanded the vision of the Christian movement to include all cultures and all people, the Protestants basically embraced the teachings of the Apostle Paul, while sprinkling in portions of Catholicism.

Therefore, Christianity is the most “choiceless” option of spirituality available. This is why many of our young people end up dashing among Buddhism, Muslim, Judaism and agnosticism. Even the denominations that are much more relaxed in their approach, like the Pentecostals, still maintain the seeds of the Vatican, with communion, offerings, trappings and ritual.

The Anglicans essentially left the church of Rome because their King, at the time, wanted a divorce. There’s nothing spiritual about it, and until we actually have a soulful awakening, returning us to the tenets of our founder from Nazareth, the church will continue to be a jumbled mishmash of ingredients, thrown together in a dark kitchen, baked in the oven … with the aspiration that it will end up to everyone’s taste.

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