The Seven Stages of Renewal

Posted on 2023-03-11
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South Bend, Indiana – In the 19th Chapter of 1 Kings, the prophet, Elijah, goes up in the mountain in search of God. While there he is buffeted by ferocious winds, a big earthquake, and the outbreak of a terrible fire. But God was in none of these. When a still, small whisper came to him, Elijah went out in adoration, for here was the Lord God.

The modern world and the modern church is buffeted by heavy winds, terrible quakes, and ravenous fires. God has sovereignty over all these things, but that is not where He is. Do not go looking for Him there or become distracted by the fearful violence of the winds, quakes and fires around you. I speak of these things, but I try to keep us focused on God’s still, small voice – which we find in the little things we can do to make life a little better and a little more joyful for those around us.

Let’s take a look at some of the winds and waves…

A lot of very serious people are giving me their assessment of when, exactly, everything will go ka-flooey. They are also telling me what they are doing in hopes of cushioning themselves from the consequences of complete social collapse.

I have said, from the beginning, that this was coming. It has come to a head later than I expected but much quicker than almost all the rest of the world believed possible. Far more important than the precise timing of specific events is the purpose behind each of those events. It is to bring as many of us back to God as is possible by our internal dispositions. God is changing our way of thinking, if we allow it. Let us call it the seven stages of renewal…

First, reveal the depth of the rot. While that pot has been bubbling for almost a century, it finally came to full boil in late 2017 with the “me-too” revelations throughout entertainment, politics and news media. But this was just the beginning. We saw, once the Russian collusion hoax was revealed to be just that – a hoax – that the institutions we have long relied on are no longer working for the public good, but in an organized grasp for power over all of us. The news media lies all the time about everything. Gov’t bureaucrats serve neither the people nor their elected superiors: they work to enslave us and choose their own allies to rule us, while relentlessly working to topple anyone outside the cabal who accidentally wins election. Credentialed Churchmen work to topple Scripture and the Gospels to remake the “faith” into their own image. In their hands, Jesus is demoted from God to front man for their progressive project. You cannot change this. Rather, God wills you to see it with clarity that you may advance to the second stage.

Second, you are forced to choose where you stand. While instinctively quick in most people, this stage takes time to play out for two reasons. Most people, even if solidly grounded in their faith, desperately want to believe that things will smooth over. Who wants to believe they will have to actually fight for their most foundational beliefs? While it may seem this breeds nothing but raw paralysis, it also gives time for those who are honestly misled to literally get right with God. As Mark Twain said, it is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled. As I have often said, nothing is lost in God’s economy – so God gives time for those who have an honest heart but a foolish head to choose well. If they are not eaten up with narcissistic hubris, many will. Those who persist in believing, contra the growing evidence around them, that they – not God – are the source of all wisdom will become part of the ash heap of salvation history. Before this step is fully completed in the bulk of humanity the next step begins.

Third, you must publicly declare yourself. It avails nothing to believe in God while keeping it to yourself, as Gideon found out before he stepped it up. As the Apostle says, “Even the demons believe – and tremble.” (James 2:19) Your choice must be followed by declaration and action or it is just an evasion of your active duty before God.

Fourth, battle begins. As the lines are drawn with growing clarity, subtle subversion gives way to overt attacks. That does not mean efforts to deceive cease, but the deception is far more brazen. Attackers twist language, using the semantics of liberty and faith in their efforts to subvert it all. Censorship is touted to “save our democracy.” Biblically forbidden sexuality is endorsed in the name of “tolerance.” It is largely a more concentrated form of the old, “evil is good and good is evil” play. It only fools those who are already committed to evil. It fortifies the resolve of those who are committed to God. It does, however, confuse those meek souls who desperately want to believe that, in the face of determined evil, there can be some compromise between good and evil. Some of these succumb to the siren song of evil while others awake to the danger before them and re-commit to God. After the initial confusion and chaos, this stage solidifies the lines of the battle.

Fifth, people realize there is no place of safety. The forces of aggression will not stop and are not at all shamed or slowed when their depredations are fully revealed. Even as people realize the battle cannot be stopped; that there will be no peace until one side has prevailed and the other defeated, some timid souls still hope to find safety by keeping their heads down. But the forces of evil now no longer demand mere tolerance for their depredations; they will only accept outright endorsement and participation. Those who try to insist on neutrality after this stage commences will be swept away by the forces of evil, with little help from the forces of good which they have determinedly held at arm’s length in hopes of avoiding trouble.

Sixth, people begin to mount plans for defense. Having deceived themselves for so long that everything was going to smooth out, they are now shocked into action, realizing that it is not going to go away if they just ignore it all. Unfortunately, the action most choose initially is panicked and childish. Most begin devising a plan of escape that counts entirely on their cleverness and not at all on God. A little wisdom would tell them that if they were not clever enough to see that this was NOT just the normal give-and-take of politics it is a fool’s game to make their cleverness the foundation of their defense. A smaller group retreats into a restless search for signs, for “messages from heaven” that will tell how God is going to do everything for us to get us out of the mess our neglect and avarice have created. In short, they double down on the neglect that got us here but now call that neglect “faith.” This is the most chaotic stage of all – and would be terribly prolonged if not for God’s mercy and grace.

Seventh, the mature ora et labora – or pray and work – stage. Those who work furiously from their own cleverness may spend all day mapping out how to feed the multitude with a couple of fish and a crust of bread but, despite their exhaustive efforts, all will go hungry. Those who spin ever more dire or hopeful pronouncements from heaven will ignore their constant failure and keep spinning in the void. Even the best, most clear-sighted among us still see as through a glass, darkly. The worst just relentlessly spin fantasies, either to terrify the masses or give false hope to themselves. The disengaged gear may spin furiously, but until it engages, it won’t move anything. Ora et labora. Without God, our labors are in vain. Without work, God’s grace has nothing to anoint. When we grow wise enough to know that it is all way too big for us, but do the little we can right in front of us, trusting to Him for all that we genuinely can’t do, God’s grace will take up residence among us. The force of 10,000 evil empires cannot withstand the power of  a tiny smidgeon of God’s grace. Ora et labora. Not when we say it, but when we live it – without fear and without expectation, but simply because that is what God calls us to – is when satan and his evil will be swept away by the tidal wave of God’s grace.

Then, and only then, will we be properly attired and ready for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. We will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living because we will be the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. And then will open a new era of real peace, prosperity and brotherhood under God among men. Cast away childish things and become heralds of the Triumph.

From the beginning, I founded CORAC as a foundational tool to live ora et labora. I have little sympathy for survivalism. Most survivalists won’t. Though I have – and continue – to live a life of profound mysticism, my mysticism tells me it is time to work, to trust God when I can’t even see the step right in front of me, to hoe my little garden because it is what God calls me to do right now and until He reveals His hand. If you must have a sign or a formula, that is what I have. Join me.

Ora et labora.


I have two more public meetings before I head home for a few months. On Sunday, March 12 at 1:30 pm, I will speak in the Chicago area at the Willow Southlake Church, 625 Barclay Blvd., Lincolnshire, Illinois 60069.

Then, on Saturday, March 18, I will speak in the Kansas City area at 4:30 pm. To get details on where, you have to hit the link and email the organizers. I’m not being mulish: I don’t know where the venue is either – but I will be visiting with the organizers, Connie and Joe Brickner, before the talk so I reckon I will find out then.

Also, while I am in Kansas City, my Chatting With Charlie Podcast co-host, Dr. Joe Brickner, and I will do another “Seven Questions” podcast. So if you want to put my feet to the fire, send your question to Dr. Joe at


Thanks to your generosity, we have enough in the bank at CORAC to cover April now. I hope to get May covered before we finish the latest fund-raising drive. I have two major projects I have been trying to work on for CORAC’s priorities this year. First is drilling down to the local level more intensely. Second is to produce a manual on how local people can develop an effective and efficient means of exchange – a form of emergency currency – if the financial system completely melts down, as even many establishment thinkers now fear. Alas, while I have these largely built in my head, I have found I just cannot get it done while on the road. I need lengthy periods of uninterrupted concentration to flesh it all out. To that end, I will be holed up at an undisclosed location near the mountains after Easter for the rest of April to get it done. Last year my big spring project was to get the Brazen Serpent Prayer finished, prayer cards designed, produced and distributed. That is dwarfed by either of these projects (and they are not the only big ones I have to finish during my April sojourn). Sr. Marie Ursula, head of the CORAC National Prayer Team, has put together a beautiful Brazen Serpent Prayer Rosary.

Some people speak to me about my “ministry.” I think, rather, that I am a sort of spark, encouraging all of you to launch a thousand small ministries, each caring for those around you in community and fortifying the structure of the faith as Christ directed. So, if you can, donate to your ministries. If you can’t, donate your time or encourage your friends who can to join CORAC and help renew the faith and face of the earth.

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim


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