Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Natchez Democrat Article and The Bigger Picture

The Natchez Democrat front page article and the Natchez TV filming of us at Magnolia Hall is sure to give us great exposure and helps people to know we exist. That is important because people who need help, first have to know there is help available. We are looking forward to seeing the show that Eric Glatzer is editing as we speak and is set to begin airing Thursday, the first of at least fifteen in the month of October. As for The Democrat article, admittedly it was a bit disappointing to see all the misspelled words and mistakes. It just shows the lack of understanding of most people regarding the paranormal, and for that matter, life-after-death. This should serve to remind our Team and heighten our awareness of the sheer ignorance and lack of knowledge that most people in our culture have regarding these subjects. We perform Christian rites in homes, not rituals. Our S.O.R. Unit goes in to help families with demonic activity, not SOAR. She couldn't get my name spelled correctly, even after visiting our site to get my phone number and seeing my name right there in black and white. Additionally, the word is spirit, not sprit, which she misspelled twice...and so on. This is a ministry, not a child's game. Know this very, very clearly: some get it, but most do not. But also keep this in mind: despite all of that, we are getting many very positive responses and feedback. 

Perhaps the lesson in this is for US...that we should clearly note and understand that far too many people have only a cliche type of understanding with their faith. Theirs seems to not be a faith based upon their own deep knowledge and prayerful study of scripture; but is, all too often, a borrowed "religion" of what they've heard some preacher scream from a pulpit. I read the comments on the article and frankly, found them not the least bit credible, but very typical of people who would go so far as to actually register (and pay the fee) to comment on Natchez Democrat articles to begin with. Truly! What I'm responding to below is for the team members who are a bit hurt or angered by the comments. So I see this as our Team's opportunity to get educated about the unlevel playing field we are playing on: you've got to understand what we're up against. The field is tilted against you, in two directions! So, I'll throw my team some red meat and speak to what I think is going on with those sorts of things. (Again, I found the comments a bit childish, not serious, and even a bit laughable...but in the coming months and years, our team should be educated about what to expect.)

I've stressed over and over again, and I'll repeat it here, that N.A.P.S. will draw fire and attacks from BOTH sides of the debate: from the radical, closed-minded empiricists who are steeped in scientism and refuse to believe in anything beyond this life. They claim that there is no such thing as a hell.  No amount of evidence you show these close-minded bigots will convince them. They are hypocrites of the highest order, and demand a standard from you that they don't adhere to themselves. They are as non-scientific as can be, and will accuse you of advancing your own pre-held notions, when it is they who are truly blind and close-minded, and cling to their biases despite all evidence to the contrary. We unashamedly admit we approach this subject from a Christian perspective. They act as if they are "scientific" and without bias. No. Everyone has a bias, they are dishonest in trying to pose as if they don't. We admit ours and stand ready to debate our position. They hide behind lies and blanket criticisms and make absurd claims without even knowing us, examining our evidence, going to one of our investigations or talking to our clients. I ask: who then is truly narrow-minded and "slow"?! We'll be happy to let reasonable and fair-minded folk answer that.

To my team: No, they are guilty of what they accuse you of. If their philosophical "ancestors" witnessed the miracles of Jesus Christ himself and those of Paul and still refused to believe, why would you ever think they will believe you?! Don't let fools like this dissuade you. Ignore them.  Period. They are misguided individuals who have been deceived by the evil one and whom you actually should pity. You should regard them as an adult regards a child: that the day will come (in this case the afterlife) when they will know the truth. I shudder at the shame as well as the possible judgment they may experience when they pass from this life and discover that their soul lives on. I abhor their dishonesty, ignorance and lies, but I pity them as people who one day will face the Almighty God. Terrifying thought! You should too and so pray for them.

On the other side of the coin, you will also always be attacked by a select group of Christians, especially fundamentalists, who are known to be extremely quick to judge and condemn but who are also known for their lack of deep biblical/scriptural exegesis. To be sure, millions upon millions of Christians, mainly in the Catholic traditions of Roman Catholicism, the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, and the Orthodox traditions, do believe that some humans go to a temporary state called purgatory. Many also understand that deceased souls can and regularly do make contact with the living. But these, mostly fundamentalists Christians, criticize us because we know that human spirits can make contact with living humans. It drives some of them absolutely crazy when we claim this and also claim to be Christians. Ignore them also, and their wrong-headed dogmatism. Know your scripture, because they don't. They are merely regurgitating the lines they have been programmed to speak. They don't think for themselves or dig into the Bible. Know that there is ample support of our views in the Bible and NOTHING in the Bible precludes them. Nothing. Let them rant and rail, condemn, and scream that we are dabbling in evil and the occult. They know not of what they speak, and you must forgive them and remain humble. They are the Pharisees of our time. They sit in pews and listen to others preach and talk, while you are out through all hours of the day and night in the homes of the terrified and frightened who are under attack. They passively sit and listen to their own leaders, while you go and minister to the downtrodden and advance God's kingdom. They talk, you act. Don't you dare let their condescending "Pharisee talk" get you discouraged or angry. Here again is a group who will criticise you without knowing you, seeing any evidence, going on an investigation, or talking to our clients. Remember this: sticks and stones... 

Instead, concentrate on who you are, the mission you have, and the clients that we help! Never ever do I need to see team members angered or deeply affected and hurt because of what the ignorant say. That is the enemy using those people to throw you off of your game. It isn't about them, it is about you staying on mission to help advance Christ's kingdom and rescue people from the dark kingdom. It's about soul rescue of those trapped in the beyond or praying them out of purgatory into God's presence. It's about loosing God's Spirit and binding the strong man and sending demons and devils to where Christ commands them go, and out of the lives and homes of the tormented who are our clients. Remember Melanie...Maddie...the Kents...the lady in Pomona, New York, and so on. Be aware of the enemy's strategy and how he uses biting criticism to discourage you and cause emotional upset. We will always be attacked from both sides, but remember as Christ said, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."

The bigger picture? Public exposure of N.A.P.S. and what we do is indeed painful sometimes, but is also very good. Call it growing pains! As I already mentioned, it helps people who are in need of the help that only we provide (not the atheistic, the blind, and those in denial of the afterlife nor the religious bigots who think they alone have a corner on truth but don't know their own Bibles) realize that we are available. Remember how many have told us they could never go to their pastor because he wouldn't understand or the people in their church would think they were crazy? Indeed, the first email I received after the Democrat article ran, began with, "Hi, I didn't even know you existed!" It was an email fully in support of what we do and implored us to ignore all of the ignorant criticism. Also, it isn't as if we don't have accountability - we do. We are constantly seeking to keep ourself in line with Christian orthodoxy (truth) and sound, scientific method. We are true to both. Another thing this publicity brings us is that it forces us to sharpen our focus and so be able to better articulate who we are and what it is we do. Our apologia (defense) is made better as we gain experience breaking down the arguments of those criticisms made against us and exposing their weaknesses. It also helps us to explain our own positions better. So, while all of this is in some ways painful, the bigger picture is that it makes us better able to help people (both alive and deceased) and advance God's kingdom. I salute and appreciate each and every one of you for your time, your hard work, your financial support and your fierce heart that you pour into this volunteer non-profit organization. Continue to fight the good fight! In the end, I guarantee you it will be worth it.

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