Let Us Be Off to Jerusalem

Posted on 2023-12-31
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“Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage and he will strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14

When entering uncharted ground that carries many potential dangers, the wise man proceeds with extreme caution. The fool insists he has already figured out the topography and goes charging in, to his doom – and that of all who are seduced by the fool’s confidence.

Neither paralysis nor hubris will successfully navigate dangerous, uncharted, territory. It is why, for so long, I have counseled deliberation. In fact, the very concept of “the next right step” is a call to act with cautious deliberation, trusting in the Lord’s tender guidance rather than your own intellectual prowess.

In troubled and uncertain times people often try to re-assert control over their lives by trying to force a rational veneer over the irrational, volatile events engulfing them. The only strategy worse than this is to withdraw into stunned paralysis. I have often used the example of canoeing on a placid lake versus shooting the rapids to highlight the skills required for tumultuous times. On a placid lake, you are in control and can steer yourself wherever you want to go. Strength to row is your primary resource. When shooting the rapids, agility and reaction are far more important than strength. The river is in control. You are not. If you try to use strength to force the river to bend to your will, you will simply capsize. Your effort to exert control will cost you all control. If you try to anticipate more than what is immediately ahead of you, the likelihood of capsizing goes up dramatically. You must deal with what comes deftly – as it comes. All efforts to exert control or over-anticipate increase your danger precipitously.

We are in the rapids. Agility and alertness are key to staying afloat. Over-analyzing (and being wed to the results you came up with) will bring you to woe. If you can just accept that you are not in control while resolving that you will endeavor to be alert to do your best in each moment you are the most likely to safely navigate the rapids.

Why does God put us in a situation where we really are not in control of our own destiny? In a people who have grown far from God – and our culture has – it is a very effective way to force people to choose. Will they do their best before God while trusting to Him for the rest – or will they rely on their own brute strength and imagined cleverness to outwit the river? The former, while making mistakes, will generally thrive. All of the latter will capsize and more than a few will perish. Though they are not the most important words in the language, the most underused, to our peril, are, “I was wrong.” You cannot begin to get things right until you candidly acknowledge where and when you are wrong and turn from it. The stubborn refusal to admit error, even as it becomes obvious, is an effort to maintain control – but is the means of capsizing in our spiritual journey.

Now our spiritual and temporal journeys are intimately intertwined to a degree they have not been before in our lives. We will go down, proclaiming how right we always were, or we will learn patience and wisdom from the maelstrom it has pleased God to deliver us over to for a time. The search for immediate gratification now could get you killed – and cause you to lose your soul.

Even now, God is weaving together one of the great stories in salvation history. We should be less certain, more curious, and more eager to learn the lessons He is teaching us. I am fascinated to see this story unfolding in real time after having anticipated it for so long. For me, it is like a prolonged Advent or Lent. An epic tale is never told in a day…or a week…or a month. How many of us, in our eagerness to show how much we know and how clever we are, will entirely miss the master class God is now giving us on how He redeems His people?

Everything now stands revealed. The rot in all of our institutions, rot that has been accumulating for over a century, is laid bare. Oh sure, there are details left to be discovered. Probably the biggest will be the rampant pedophilia and human trafficking by elite classes. But we know what we are dealing with now. I am adamant that none of us are innocent before God for the cesspool our culture has become. Most folks here did not actively push the rot…but we sure did not effectively stop it. Remember, in the Confiteor, when we beg pardon for our sins, we ask for forgiveness for both what we have done and what we have failed to do.

America, specifically, and Western Civilization, generally, have shown more resiliency than I expected. In America, prosperity since 2008 has been more a matter of market manipulation by governmental and quasi-governmental forces than of productivity and any sort of rational, genuinely free-market economics. You can only stretch the band so many times before it snaps.

Various revolutionary pressures have been growing robustly throughout the globe for a generation now. I think that all those revolutionary roads converge in 2024. Though it is the end of an era, it is not yet the beginning of a new one. Rather, it is the beginning of the transition to the new era. The New Year could begin like the old movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, with wild action right from the start. Whether it does or sleeps in for a month or two, by the end of the year, the global deck will have been well shuffled. Here are some predictions for the next few years. These are predictions based on my analysis of trends and motivations, NOT prophecies.

  • The Disunited States of America: The more pathetically absurd their claims and narratives get the more shriekily hysterical the left gets in insisting upon them. They have run out of gas. They can still swarm Twitter and seem like a majority but even there, when a poll is run, the more conservative alternative generally gets upwards of 80%. The left has lost its mojo and only has the shrieks left. BUT, it does control most of the institutional levels of influence – so it tries to impose its will from these and then use social media to try make people think that wars, inflation, struggling to make ends meet, and grooming children are popular with normal folks. They are utterly helpless at making policy. What single thing have they done to make life better and more livable for normal folks – or even for their own adherents? By the close of the second quarter of the year, I suspect the US will have effectively ceased acting as a unified entity. Hopefully, that will be because a growing number of states (including some blue states) start nullifying growing swaths of federal authority over them and reclaiming greater sovereignty. If not, expect growing violence that may metastasize in revolt or genuine civil war.
  • The Global Great Depression: America’s economy is held together by smoke and mirrors. The Chinese economy is tanking. Europe has an illusion of an economy. The piper awaits his due in 2024. Once one big domino falls it will not be long before they all do. What is coming is not so much a great depression as it will be a reset on much more primitive terms. Western nations work desperately to outlaw efficient sources of energy while dramatically overstressing the electric grid. This is the year our technology will fail because we have completely mismanaged and overstressed it. Those who can build their own fires, find their own food through foraging, and have an adequate, replenishable supply of water will weather the storm. Sadly, many of those who have lost the capacity for basic skills will not.
  • Woke-ism will collapse: Oh, a few will, like lonely Japanese soldiers after WWII, try to keep the hectoring up long after the battle is lost. But when people have to put all their energy into survival, they are not interested in hearing about micro-aggressions. Most “woke” dullards will have enough to worry about with the macro-aggressions of real hunger and real need to worry themselves much about the micro variety. It is through collective collaboration that people will survive best – so those who are actually the most racist (primarily leftists, including whites and blacks) will have a tough time making it through to 2025. The new tribalism will have its enclaves, so it will be important that normal people, working together in small communities, be prepared to defend themselves against roving bands of woke warlords – people especially embittered that their plan for supreme rule collapsed everything instead.
  • Ukraine: Either a negotiated settlement ceding Crimea and the Donbas to Russia will be inked early in the year or Russia will settle into a war of attrition to make all of Ukraine an administrative district of Russia. The destruction of three Russian warships in the Black Sea, Russia’s warm water port, had Ukrainian leaders cheering,but they are about one more battleship away from solidifying Russian resolve that the only way to solve this now is to take all of Ukraine. That will only come through a war of attrition, but Russia is at its best in wars of attrition. Having chosen to fight on rather than seriously consider a negotiated settlement, Ukraine will find the rug pulled out from under it as both the US and European powers become pre-occupied with their own internal crises.
  • China: The situation here is more inscrutable than in most areas of the world. Will the Chinese economy collapse before it can invade Taiwan? Will it invade Taiwan before its economy collapses? Will it invade Taiwan as a panicked effort to stave off collapse? Will it set off an outer space EMP to cripple the United States? The Achilles Heel of the American bureaucratic state and military capability is its near absolute reliance on sophisticated digital technology. But digital is a hothouse plant – beautiful in its precision, but not hardy enough to survive in the wild for long. America’s leadership has become like the tiny alien running the intimidating body suit in Men in Black: utterly helpless if the body suit is disabled. That, I think, is why we are getting a huge uptick in cyber assaults coming from China. These are test runs for disabling American capability and governance, generally.
  • The Church: I am convinced that God has used the papacy of Francis for two primary reasons: first, to reveal the substantial rot that has set into great chunks of the hierarchy and, second, to force us all to work to clarify the lawful extent of, and actual limitations, to any Bishop or Pope’s authority. After all the Synods on Synods, I think there will ultimately be a Synod on that subject – and it is all the Synods on Synods that will have forced the issue. All this will last as long as is necessary to deeply imprint the heart of those issues on us…and then it will pass away, leaving the Church stronger than ever. If Pope Francis were to pass soon, we might very well get a transitional Pope. If he does not pass until the world is in ashes, then I believe we will immediately get a Pope who is fully orthodox. In any case, God is schooling us right now. We would do well to learn the lesson He intends.
  • Islam: This is the big one. I predict that, within five to 10 years, Islam will have effectively ceased to exist. But boy, it is not going to go quietly into that dark night! There are many good, peace-loving Muslims. But Islam is, most decidedly, NOT a religion of peace. The Koran teaches that all must ultimately convert to Islam or be killed. The primary wiggle room is how long Islam may give people to convert. A secondary piece of wiggle room is that they may tax infidels and collect tribute while awaiting the mass conversion. When the final battle begins, fundamentalist Muslims believe the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who was supposedly hidden in the 9th Century, will re-emerge to help Islam conquer the globe by the sword. In the early 7th Century Islam launched its first effort at global dominion and the annihilation of all Christianity. It made serious inroads into Europe, taking all of the Iberian Peninsula and chunks of France and Italy before Christianity roused itself, nearly three centuries later, and finally fought back in the Crusades. After a thousand years, much of fundamental Islam believes that now is the time of their final battle. They are encouraged by the reality that much of the western left and a majority of people under 25 support the Jihadists and their murderous tactics. Small wonder! Colleges for generations have been teaching that the Crusades were Christianity’s attack on innocent Islam rather than the simple fact that they were Christianity’s belated counter-attack against existential Muslim aggression. Now, all manner of currents have been unleashed by the Oct. 7 butchering attacks by Hamas on Jewish civilians. Many formally Muslim nations have largely secular leadership, but it is a secular leadership that must swear fealty, however insincere, to Islamic fundamentalists to hold back revolutionary pressures. Perhaps the two most volatile nations are Saudi Arabia, which has a theocratic population with a secular leadership and Iran, which has a largely secular population with a theocratic leadership. The Islamic diaspora, spread throughout Europe, America, and chunks of Asia is heavily fundamentalist, particularly in Europe and Asia. These are the people who will respond to the call for the final battle. Islam, like the Soviet Union, has always been doomed to ultimate collapse due to its internal contradictions. Unlike the Soviet Union, Islam teaches patience and deception to wait for the opportune moment to strike. Now those internal contradictions will rise to the surface as Islamic fundamentalists have already largely decided that now is the opportune time to make their stand. Muslims will badly bloody each other, they will badly bloody western Europe and certain areas of Asia, and they will draw their pound of flesh in the Americas (which will be the first to turn them back). It will not be pretty, but it will contribute to the rising tide of violence in the New Year – and for the next few years. In the end, most of those Muslims who survive will convert to Christianity – and Islam will be a factor in geo-politics no longer. I will expand on this in my piece on the world crisis after the first of the year.

So there you have it – and I am on record. In the New Year we all begin our journey to Mt. Mordor. We seek not to have God on our side, but to work with all our heart, mind and souls to be on God’s side. Forget the over-complicated formulaic approaches. The method is simple: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope to those around you.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal,

Which comes upon you to prove you” -1 Peter 4:12

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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1 Comment

  1. MarianCenturion

    “to force us all to work to clarify the lawful extent of, and actual limitations, to any Bishop or Pope’s authority.”

    Maybe Charlie has been more detailed and clear about what he is saying in the above quote. Taken on face value with out any context of what Charlie has said about church authority, it would seem he is promoting a more democratic church.

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