Friday, January 27, 2023

Please pray for Auckland, New Zealand and its residents there

 To all:

I just saw a television clip about devastating floods in Auckland, New Zealand.  That might sound like a far, far away place for most, but we have readers and blog participants there.  Grant Sutton, his wife, daughter and son-in-law live in Auckland.  I was rushing to my computer to post a request for prayers for their safety.   As I got to the computer, I heard my phone ring in the opposite end of the house I had left to do the computer messaging.  I rushed back to the phone, but the ringing had stopped.  On my caller ID was the number Grant Sutton has called me from the past few years.  I always pray for weather mercy on my region of the country.  I believe that many times God has shown weather mercy on Southeast Michigan, USA.  Now, I am praying for weather mercy on New Zealand and I ask you to join me on that.  


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Our very good friend and colleague Lee Penn has died

 Rich Peterson and I enjoyed a wonderful friendship and information exchange relationship with brilliant author and business consultant, Lee Penn.  Rich called me this morning with sad news that Lee died a week ago.  He learned of it from Lee's sister posting to Lee's Facebook page.  Dorothy Margraf over the years had enjoyed a good working relationship with Lee as well.

Lee wrote many wonderful articles about the New Age Movement in a variety of publications, including Spiritual Counterfeit Project and New Oxford Review.

Lee told me he had once been a Marxist and an atheist.  He had a wonderful conversion to Christianity and used his immense talents to do God's work.  His leading book, FALSE DAWN is nearly encyclopedic in the scope of his coverage on various New Age personalities such as Barbara Marx Hubbard and the United Religions Initiative.

The last time I talked at length with Lee was during the time I became ill for a protracted period myself.  I'm still not fully out of the woods on that score.  Lee had suffered from debilitating effects, as I recall, of Cerebral Palsy.  Nevertheless, although his body was weakened his mind remained very sharp.

Lee was brilliant and very highly educated.  He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1976.  Thereafter, he received master's degrees in busines and  public health from the University of California (Berkeley) in 1986.   He was listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.  

From his Author's Biography, I will shamelessly cut and paste:

Lee Penn is a health care information systems consultant and a journalist. He received a BA cum laude from Harvard in 1976, and master's degrees in business and in public health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986. Since then, he has worked in finance and health care information systems - mostly as a consultant, assisting hospitals, health maintenance
organizations, and other health care providers with automation and business planning. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate, and is listed in Who's Who in America (56th-59th editions) and Who's Who in the World (20th-22nd editions). He is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

As a journalist, he has written about the United Religions Initiative, cults, and the New Age movement since 1998, and has been published in various confessions' orthodox and conservative magazines: 

• The Christian Challenge (Anglican) — 19 by-lined stories from 1999 through 2004 on the URI, the New Age movement in the Episcopal Church, Anglican/Catholic relations, and pro-life issues.

• Foundations (Anglican) — 2 articles on the URI: “The Globalism Blues” (September 1999) and “Amen, Swami: The URI Gets a Charter, But Not a Whole Lot Else” (August 2000).

• HLI Reports (Human Life International, a Catholic pro-life organization) — “The Case Against the United Reli­gions Initiative,” February 2001.

• New Oxford Review (Catholic) — 4 feature stories between 1998 and 2000, including “The United Religions Initiative: A Bridge Back to Gnosticism” (December 1998) and “Beware! The New Age Movement is More Than Self-Indulgent Silliness” (July/August 2000).

• The Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP), a front-line Reformed/Evangelical Protestant ministry whose mission is "confronting the occult, the cults, and the New Age movement." He has had 10 feature articles in the Journal since 1999: a 4-part series on the URI, globalism, and the New Age movement, a science fiction story ("The World Church of 2017"), a 3-part series on the history and beliefs of mainstream and fringe Freemasonry, and - in 2004 - a 2-part series on the emerging police state. In addition, Penn co-authored "Neale Donald Walsch: Conversations With Myself " with Tal Brooke, the President of SCP. In 2004, this article won a "First Place" award in the "Critical Review" category from the Evangelical Press Association. (There were 500 contestants for this award.)

• World Net Daily (secular conservative) — Co-author, with SCP’s Tal Brooke, of 2 articles in 2002: “How the State Confiscates Rights” (February 27, 2002) and “State Surveillance: Abolishing Freedom” (March 25, 2002).

 The Wanderer (Catholic) — Paul Likoudis’ “United Religious Initiative Launched in Pittsburgh” (July 6, 2000) quoted extensively from my articles, as did several “From the Mail” columns: “Unscrambling the Labyrinth” (July 8, 1999), “The Transforming Power of the Labyrinth” (March 1, 2001), “The Endless Labyrinth” (April 12, 2001), and “Mapping the Scandals” (June 6, 2002).

• Touchstone (orthodox Christian, from all confessions) — “Midwives of a Common God: The Myriad Friends of the United Religions Initiative” (June 2000).

• The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, which acts as a pro-life advocate to the UN and other inter­national bodies, published “The United Religions Initiative: An Organization Seeking to Undermine Traditional Religious Faith and Evangelization,” in February 2005.

With this book, Penn hopes to speak to a wider audience, to liberals as well as to conservatives, since the current and pending threats to liberty and to traditional religious belief come from both political extremes. 

Lee Penn was raised as an Episcopalian, but became atheist while in college. After a six-year detour into Marxism (as a member of the New American Movement, a "democratic-socialist" descendant of the Students for a Democratic Society), he returned to Christ in 1978. From 1979 to 1983, he was a member of a Methodist congregation in Oregon; from 1983 to 1995, he was an active member of the Episcopal Church in Bishop Swing's diocese, including serving on a San Francisco parish's Vestry, heading its Finance Committee, and participating in its Search Committee for a new rector in 1994.

Lee Penn left the Episcopal Church in 1995 - pushed away by Bishop Swing's establishment of the United Religions Initiative, Swing's 1994 acceptance of Matthew Fox as an Episcopal priest, and the pro-abortion stance of the Episcopal Church. The last straw was when they started calling God "she" at Penn's Episcopal parish; by the next Sunday, Lee was seeking a new spiritual home, and began by worshiping at a Russian Orthodox parish. That year, he explored Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy - and was received into an Eastern Catholic parish that is in communion with Rome but worships, fasts, feasts, and prays in the Eastern Orthodox fashion. Lee's spiritual home since 1995 has been the Christian East. He says that his "history is evidence that God is merciful to sinners, and shows that the writer of 'Amazing Grace' was telling the truth."

Lee is certainly missed here, but I am looking forward to seeing him THERE!  



Monday, January 09, 2023

The ugly Brazil events have Steve Bannon and Donald Trump's fingerprints all over them!

 Yesterday, our Detroit Lions were approaching a cold weather Green Bay football game that they won.  Of course, most Michiganders, myself included, were happy.  I've been to Green Bay, spoken in Green Bay, and they were wonderful people when I was back there during the 80s.  But home team is home team.  I'm not so sure Rich of Medford (Wisconsin) was thrilled.  He's probably a little distance from Green Bay -- but Wisconsin is his home.

That being said, I wasn't quite as thrilled pre-game by normal news coverage being bypassed for pre-game interviews and telecasts.  WDIV, our NBC station, carried the game and its pre-events.  I switched to ABC after the usual 6:30 national news did not play.  Sometimes most of the news is so bad that I will turn off the TV and ask "Google Home" to play "nice classical music" for me.  Such was the case yesterday.  Consequently, I did not get normal "breaking news" notices on the bigger screen TV until 6:33 when I made the station change.  I watched with my mouth open --- Brazil, just over 2 years to the day was experiencing its own insurrection -- former President Bolsonaro claiming he had won the election over DaSilva when he had not and his believing supporters looting and damaging critical governmental buildings.

Immediately, I dialed Rich of Medford (Richard Peterson) and screamed "this has Steve Bannon's fingerprints all over it!"

A few months ago, I read a critical book about Steve Bannon whom I once admired.  The brilliant book by Benjamin Teitelbaum is WAR FOR ETERNITY,   It was about Steve Bannon and, the Traditionalist cult of which he is a critical global leader and Donald Trump's role in it as "the chosen one."

That book was disturbingly revealing.  Bannon and Trump have done a very good job of convincing many Christians they are our friends.  However, in this book, I learned that Catholic-raised Bannon had Theosophical leanings.  During his navy career he frequented occult book shops and in a remote eastern Asia port purchased one book that particularly influenced him in a favorable way -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE by none other than Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.  That was the book Kennedy killer Sirhan Sirhan requested when first sent to his cell after his arrest for the 1968 Robert F, Kennedy assassination.  Sirhan is Moslem.  He did not request a Bible, he did not request a Koran -- he wanted the Blavatsky book.  To give Madame Blavatsky her perspective, she named their initial Theosophical Society magazine "Lucifer."

There was an international circle of those combinging occult beliefs with a bastardized form of "traditionalism" where nationalist interests were to maintain their long standing traditions -- be they Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Tao, or whatever!  Putin's advisor Aleksandr Dugin, the mapper of his Ukraine strategy was part of the group.  Bannon held secret meetings with Dugin in 2018, per Teitelbaum.  

I recognized immediately what was happening. I had my computer off for most of the day.  Immediately after I phoned Rich (Rich Peterson), I then googled and saw that many others had made identical observations.  I do not know if they were familiar with Teitelbaum's book or not,  but they did recognize Bannon and his tactics.  Moreover, it was reported that Trump advisors Bannon and Miller had met with Bolsonaro psot-election and told him to deny election results!

Bannon was one of the principal purveyors of the election denial issue.  He has continued to loudly and vocally repeat it plus  predictions that they will prevail and take over. Their international circle included figures such as Bolsonaro of Brazil, Dugin of Russia, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Marine LePen of France.  Their propaganda and think tank production site was an occult and "esoteric Nazism" publisher now located in Hugary named Arktos.  Ironically, one of the founders was a New Age activist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, one John R. Morgan.

Bannon's boasts are very real.  As I said in the comments section, Qanon is organized in 71 countries at one of the last counts.  The New Age "radical middle" come together as global fascism and left wing Marxism merge.  Too many Trump followers sre sympathetic to Putin (via Dugin part of the same circle) and buying the lies that the Ukraine is a Nazi country.

Furthermore, the events are certain to come back and be a justification for persecution of Christian believers who defend whatever Bannon and Trump espouse.

Events are disturbing.  Let us pray for discernment, "lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil."