Exposing the “Mental Health Crisis”

In sociology, mental health has long been viewed as a “social construction” like gender, race, etc. It is absolutely true in this case. Autism is new a “spectrum” that can be as wide as the mental health community wishes it to be. Homosexuality and transgenderism used to be afflictions that no longer appear in the DSM-V (the psychologists’ Bible for mental illnesses).

The United States of America is the most medicated society in the history of mankind. Do we really have a mental health crisis in which growing numbers of citizens are suffering from a mental illness, or are doctors and therapists merely prescribe more medication? I have always believed that the latter is the most likely answer, but my recent experiences have served to solidify that opinion.

I have been working as a mental health counselor in a local middle school for a few weeks now. It is a personally rewarding job, as helping kids overcome their social problems is an extremely important job. However, the unholy alliance of the education system, mental health industry, and government healthcare in the pockets of a private business has created an incredibly dangerous and destructive environment for our children.

My employer requires a minimum number of billable hours known as “productivity.” These hours are billed to Medicaid. The company needs to bill Medicaid so they can cover costs (payroll, rent, keeping the lights on, etc.) of doing business. I have to provide an average of 5 hours of productivity every day. I also need to have enough students on my caseload to meet those productivity standards. I share my caseload with a therapist who also has their own productivity numbers to meet.

Thus, a school therapist is incentivized to diagnose “enough” kids in the school to meet the productivity standards in order to bill Medicaid enough money to pay all of us.

The real consequence of this policy is an uptick in mental health diagnoses. I have already met with a number of students who have behavioral problems, not mental health problems. Most of them are on the “spectrum” – basically any kid who has trouble making friends ends up here. Several have been diagnosed with ADHD – any kid who has a hard time paying attention to boring teachers in classes that they don’t care about.

I have sat in public school classrooms. My clients are supposed to sit and exhibit ideal behavior while a half-dozen students who have not been diagnosed are acting like wild animals. My kids have “mental health” problems, but these other kids do not.

Many of my clients do not take prescribed medication because they say, “it makes me feel weird” or “I don’t feel like myself.” I completely understand this. In college, I read a paper about “the medicated self” which argues that those on anti-depressants are unsure which “self” is their true self.

Imagine being told that your “self” is not complete unless you are taking medication that basically turns you into a different person. This medicated “self” is the “good self”, while your natural existence is viewed as incomplete.

So we now have a group of students who are “mentally ill”, while other students who exhibit the same behavior are “mentally healthy.” One group is told that they need drugs to be complete, while the other is told they are whole. One group is diagnosed with “mental illnesses” whose definitions change over time, often due to social pressure from social justice lobbyists. One group needs to be diagnosed as mentally ill in order to keep therapists and CPSTs employed. One group is told they are incomplete, and we wonder why they grow up into adults who continue to exhibit mental health problems.

This does not even address the potential damage that a psychotropic drug can have when introduced to an otherwise healthy brain. Most people who are diagnosed have not had any sort of brain scan. An “expert” who sits in an office determines the brain chemistry of a client after a conversation or two – not an MRI or C/T scan, but a chat determines that neurons and synapses are not working properly –  and prescribes drugs to these individuals.

This is the reality of America’s “mental health crisis.” We are creating mental illness by redefining what makes someone ill and introducing brain chemistry altering drugs into potentially healthy brains.

**This is not to say that there are not legitimate cases of mental illness. I am merely saying that they are far less prevalent than we are led to believe.**

Many of our schools are filled with mental health workers who are incentivized to diagnose a certain number of students as mentally ill in order to fulfill arbitrary “productivity” standards.

It is my experience that the overwhelming similarity between clients is the lack of a two-parent household. Some poor kid who experiences abuse or abandonment in the home acts out at school to get attention to show that he has power somewhere. These kids do not have broken brains, they are victims of broken homes.

We must fix families. We must worry more about making these kids whole rather than meeting “productivity”. We must allow teachers and schools to deal with kids in a more effective way than slapping them with a mental health diagnosis that excuses bad behavior and will follow them for the rest of their lives.

We must stop telling our kids that they are not whole.

I would gladly sacrifice my job for the greater good. The “mental health crisis” needs to be discussed. We must shine a light on the dark corners of the mental health industry before it all gets worse.

If you are a mental health worker, do you agree or disagree? Where am I wrong? Where am I right? I would love to hear from you by either commenting on this post or you can email me at scornedchaos@hotmail.com.

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Ohio State Juvenile Reforms

A Brief History of Ohio Juvenile Institutions

Prior to the institution of the Ohio Reform School in 1857, male juvenile offenders were sent to adult penitentiaries. The ORS housed boys between 8 and 18 years old. It adopted the cottage style “open system” rather than a large structure to house inmates. Boys entered the ORS with a number of “demerits” that were based on the nature of their crimes. Bad behavior led to additional demerits, but good behavior led to the loss of demerits. Once a boy reached zero demerits, they were freed and returned to their families (Ohio History Central n.d.).

The Breaking Point

By 1992, the Ohio juvenile prison system was breaking down. The state had 11 facilities with the capacity to house 1,400 inmates. However, there were nearly 2,500 boys held in these institutions. Nine counties instituted a pilot program in 1993 to curb the rising problems within the system. They began to funnel non-violent offenders into community based programs with mental health services, family counseling, and substance abuse treatment, rather than youth prisons (Shaffer 2015).

The immediate results were clear. The number of inmates dropped 40% in the first year, the daily cost per offender in youth prisons was around $550, but community-based programs cost only $200. Recidivism rates were cut in half, and 85% of the courts in the system approved of the reforms. Although a marked improvement, Ohio juvenile corrections facilities suffered from many of the same problems that most institutions do.

 

The Institutional State of State Institutions

            In 2010, the Children’s Defense Fund, in conjunction with the Annie E. Casey Foundation – the organization most famously connected with the uber-successful “Missouri Model” – released a report on the state of juvenile institutions in the state of Ohio. The Missouri Model promotes keeping youths in smaller facilities rather than gigantic institutions. They focus on treatment over incarceration. They promote group therapy over isolation. The staff promotes positive interaction over abuse and intimidation. They encourage education, family involvement, and stay with youths after they are released.

Abuses and Lawsuits

            The Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) faced a federal lawsuit filed in 2004 that was finally settled in 2008, over its unconstitutional treatment of inmates. There were complaints about increased violence and abuse coming from both guards and other inmates. In one incident, inmates were being transferred in a face down position from one facility to another (Prison Legal News 2015). Other accusations involved isolation, and racial bias in mental health treatment.

By 2012, the ODYS filed a motion to terminate a stipulation requiring court-ordered monitoring of the system. The court agreed that no more, or at least, very few unconstitutional actions were taking place within the ODYS, and monitoring ended (Prison Legal News 2015).

In 2014, the ODYS settled another lawsuit brought by the U.S. Justice Department over the unlawful seclusion of inmates. As part of the settlement, ODYS agreed to reduce and eventually end seclusion of youths and increase the availability of mental health treatments to better determine the root causes of behavior that led to such a punishment (Department of Justice 2014).

A 2016 lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) against the Multi-County Juvenile Detention Center (MCJDC) in Lancaster, OH for refusing to allow DRO to investigate their facilities with private and confidential access. While given a tour, the MCJDC did not allow DRO to have private conversations with inmates – a confidential discussion that ensures the safety of an inmate who may have concerns about their treatment at the facility. This is a violation of state and federal law (Disability Rights Ohio 2016).

JDAI

The state of Ohio began instituting a national program of Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in the state’s five largest counties in 2010. Prior to the implementation of JDAI, Ohio’s juvenile incarceration rate was among the top third of all states. Only 33% of juveniles were detained for person-offenses, more than 40% for drug offenses, and 25% for violating probation, status offenses, violating court orders, or other technical offenses (Children’s Defense Fund 2010).

The four core goals of JDAI are to: 1) Eliminate the overuse of secure detention; 2) Minimize failures to appear in court and reduce delinquent behavior; 3) Redirect public finances from building new facilities to creating responsible alternative strategies; and 4) Improve conditions in secure detention facilities.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund (2010), a multi-level approach was proposed for juvenile reforms in Ohio, including:

  1. Continue and Expand County-Based Detention Reform.
  2. Continue State Leadership on Reducing Incarceration Rates.
  3. Create a System of State Oversight, Assistance and Accountability for Detention.
  4. Ensure that All Youth Risking Detention Have Effective Legal Representation.

Results

By 2017, there was a 29% reduction in juvenile admissions across the eight sites that implemented JDAI reforms (Kuhlman 2017), and many other sites were closed. The institution of Community Intervention Centers have been implemented in Cleveland and Dayton, and the state plans to hire more guards and train them in de-escalation techniques (Shaffer 2017). Unfortunately, there is a severe lack of statewide data on the successes (or lack thereof) of JDAI reforms in Ohio’s juvenile facilities. However, one of the five initial reform sites in Franklin County “experienced a 90% success rate at their evening reporting center for youth at high risk for reoffending, with not one participant being readmitted to their Reception Center with a new charge” (Children’s Defense Fund 2015). If we extrapolate these results to the other sites, that is an amazing positive development in Ohio’s juvenile justice system.

The facilities run by the ODYS have instituted reforms over the same period as well. The daily population has fallen dramatically in the ODYS, many facilities have closed, and an increase in behavioral and mental health treatment programs. However, recidivism rates are all over the place – they are up and down depending on the length of stay and age of the inmate. Regardless, they are nowhere near as low as rates in the JDAI facilities (Children’s Defense Fund 2015).

Discussion

            Ohio is a state that is desperately trying to reform its facilities. The long-lasting ODYS has been essentially court-ordered to reform its institutions. Meanwhile, JDAI reforms have been implemented in many other facilities. This is a positive development in both cases, but the JDAI results are outpacing that of ODYS. As mentioned earlier, statewide data from JDAI in Ohio is lacking. However, given the results that we do know from Ohio counties and similar results from other states that have implemented the Missouri Model, we can assume that statewide data would yield similar outcomes.

Closing facilities, eliminating huge detention centers, treating inmates like human beings, focusing on education, lowering recidivism rates, and helping released youths to reintegrate back into society after leaving a facility have made Missouri the most successful state for juvenile reforms in the country. Their results outpace all other states. JDAI in Ohio appears to be delivering similar results. Therefore, I believe that the Missouri Model based JDAI reforms should be the new standard for juvenile reforms in not just Ohio, but in all states.

 

Works Cited

Children’s Defense Fund. 2010. “Rethinking Juvenile Detention in Ohio.” Retrieved from http://www.cdfohio.org/research-library/2010/JuvDetention_Issue_Brief.pdf

Children’s Defense Fund 2015. “Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet Series.”

Department of Justice. 2014. “Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against State of Ohio to End   Unlawful Seclusion of Youth in Juvenile Correctional Facilities.” Retrieved from             https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-lawsuit-against-state-ohio-end-  unlawful-seclusion-youth-juvenile

Disability Rights Ohio. 2016. “DRO Files Federal Lawsuit Against Juvenile Detention Facility for Denying DRO Access to Detained Youth.” Retrieved from     https://www.disabilityrightsohio.org/news/dro-files-federal-lawsuit-against-juvenile-detention-facility-for-denying

Kuhlman, Mary. 2017. “National Model Inspires Juvenile Detention Reform in Ohio.” Public News Service. Retrieved from http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2017-04-17/juvenile-    justice/national-model-inspires-juvenile-detention-reform-in-ohio/a57182-1

Ohio History Central. n.d. “Ohio Reform School.” Retrieved from http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Ohio_Reform_School

Prison Legal News. 2015. “Court Ends Injunctive Monitoring of Ohio Juvenile System.” Retrieved from https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2015/jan/12/court-ends-       injunctive-monitoring-ohio-juvenile-system/

Shaffer, Cory. 2015. “Ohio’s Effort to Reform Juvenile Prisons is a National Model.” Cleveland.com. Retrieved from             http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/10/ohios_efforts_to_reform_juveni.html

Shaffer, Cory. 2017. “Reforms to Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center Will Balance Public Safety with Dignity of Teens, Officials Say.” Cleveland.com. Retrieved from             http://www.cleveland.com/courtjustice/index.ssf/2018/04/reforms_to_cuyahoga_county_juv.html

Social Suicide and Mass Murder

On Valentine’s Day a 19-year-old kid marched into his old high school and opened fire on students who walked out of their classrooms when the killer pulled a fire alarm just before the end of the school day. Reports have come out giving us some insight on his life. The media (both mainstream and social) is focusing on guns and mental illness. Here is why I believe they are looking at the wrong thing.

In Emile Durkheim’s seminal work, Suicide, he looked at death records from several countries in Europe. He found that there are essentially four types of suicide: 1) Egotistic – when someone experiences a lack of social integration or are isolated (widows, hermits, victims of bullying); 2) Anomic – lack of moral regulation or a sudden change in life where the “new normal” feels overwhelming. There is a sense of “normlessness” where all of the social norms we abide by change and the new rules are difficult to grasp (losing a job or loved one; moving to a new country); 3) Fatalistic – overwhelming oppression and hopelessness (prisoners, terminally ill); 4) Altruistic – for the greater good (soldiers, firemen, suicide bombers).
Durkheim found that suicide is not a psychological phenomenon, but a social one. Changes in one’s social integration is a greater indicator of violence against oneself than any psychological condition.

Now, let’s apply this theory to what we know about the Valentine’s Day shooter.

  1. He was social isolated. Most reports are that he was bullied pretty regularly. He had very few friends. He was kicked out of school and other social organizations. This is indicative of Egotistic suicide.
  2. His adopted father died a few years ago, but his adopted mother died just three months ago. This dramatic social event would be a likely catalyst for anomic suicide.
  3. He apparently exhibited numerous histrionic outbursts – I believe these were to draw attention to an otherwise lonely boy – yet still managed to fly under the radar of law enforcement.
  4. Therefore, he was isolated from peers by choice (making numerous threats) or force (expulsion and bullying), as well as dealing with the death of his last remaining parent (and I have to wonder if being adopted started his feelings of social isolation). He also lives in a country where guns are weaved into the fabric of the nation and are constantly depicted in the media in both positive and negative lights.

It seems to me that this is a social recipe for a disaster. Rather than turning the weapon on himself, he turned it on others. Regardless, he follows a similar pattern to other mass murders, serial killers, and the suicidal. Reports are that the Vegas shooter, Steven Paddock, lost a lot of money before his rampage and was socially isolated from almost everyone except his roommate/girlfriend. The Columbine shooters were socially isolated and bullied. The same goes for the Aurora shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, and almost all other mass murderers over the last 20 years.

I truly believe that we need to stop thinking of these events as psychological anomalies. There is something wrong with the SOCIAL fabric of the nation right now.

We have been in perpetual war since 2001. We just experienced a major economic recession. Social media and online video games are keeping kids from face-to-face interactions. We are the most medicated society in history. Our social and demographic categories are being constantly challenged and redefined. Religion is becoming less and less of an effective institution. Our electorate is becoming more and more divided.

Basically, we are in a national state of anomic normlessness that is leading to increasing social isolation. As our institutions continue to crumble, so does our ability to maintain solidarity. Without social solidarity and stability, we feel hopeless. We feel socially suicidal.

Some of us develop depression. Some of us do kill ourselves. Some are committing mass murder. The signs and symptoms are all there.

Since Suicide was published in 1897, data continues to back up Durkheim’s theory. I truly believe that we are experiencing social suicide that is beginning to manifest in social homicide.

These shooters are not “mentally ill”, they are socially constructed monsters. No laws can stop the inevitable destruction brought about by social unrest. Medicating the problem like we medicate our citizenry will not solve the problem.

Notes on Leviticus 16-18

Leviticus 16 gives us a picture of Christ as the scapegoat. A bullock and a goat are killed as burnt offerings for the Israelites, while an additional goat is to take on “all their transgressions in all their sins (verse 21)” so that this goat would “bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (verse 22).
 
Jesus Christ is the scapegoat who takes our sins and transgressions so that we do not have to burn in the fires of Hell.
 
Chapter 17 contains one of the most fascinating Law of First Mention accounts; “devils” (verse 7). What are these beings? Apparently, the Israelites were worshiping them; “and they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils” (v. 7).
 
Some people believe these creatures to be fallen angels, but the fallen angels were called “sons of God” in Genesis 6 and there is no evidence of any angel of any kind who could possess humans. Satan came into Judas and will come into the Antichrist, but I believe these “men” are actually Nimrod, the offspring of fallen angels.
 
These “devils” appear to be something different. These devils have the power to possess humans (Matt. 8, Mark 1), and they can do so in large numbers (the “maniac” possessed by “Legion” in Luke 8). Mary Magdalene, often mislabeled as a prostitute (there is no evidence of such), was possessed by 7 devils (Mark 16:9).
 
The “prince of the devils” is Beelzebub (Mark 3:22). I mentioned back in my Notes on Exodus 7-12 that Baal-zebub is the “lord of the flies,” believed to be Satan.
 
We know that these devils seem to want to hang out around dead bodies (the accounts of Matt. 8 and Luke 8 take place near tombs), they give men super strength (“Legion” could break his restraints), and they can perform miracles (Rev. 16:14).
 
Devils believe in Jesus Christ, just as any Christian does. Luke 4:41 says “And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.”
 
We are warned “that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim 4:1). These creatures are able to convince people of new doctrines in the end times.
 
I believe that this is happening right now, not only in “other” religions, but within Christianity. After all, these devils can sit in the seat next to you on a Sunday morning or sing in the choir. They may even have a stronger belief in Christ than you do. They may be standing in our pulpits teaching false doctrine, and the Church is so lacking in Faith and understanding of Scripture that we would not be able to recognize these wicked, unclean, seducing spirits.
 
Leviticus 17 also warns us against eating blood, “for the life of the flesh is in the blood” (verse 11). The line between fact and fiction becomes blurred in the study of eating blood. God obviously warns against its consumption, so it must have been practiced at some point. Yet we see historical violation of this rule by Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory, and the fictional portrayal of vampires and werewolves.
 
UFOs are also associated with blood, or the lack thereof. Most reports of cattle mutilations mention that not one drop of blood was left behind when a cow was sliced open. Something is consuming the blood.
 
Now that I have gotten a bit off the beaten path, Leviticus 18 brings us back to a more practical subject; sex.
 
Verses 6-17 can be summed up this way: we are not to look on the nakedness of anyone but our spouse. Ham violated this principle when he looked upon Noah and wound up cursed (Genesis 9:20-27). Whether Ham sodomized his father as some believe or if he merely looked upon Noah’s naked body, God takes such a violation seriously.
 
God puts looking on a naked body in the same category as sacrificing children to the false god Molech (v. 21), homosexuality (“thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind,” v. 22) and bestiality (v. 23), resulting in being “cut off from among their people” (v. 29). God calls all these acts “abominations” (v. 29).
 
According to Alexander Hislop, Molech (Law of First Mention) or Moloch was Nimrod as worshiped by the Canaanites (Hamites) and eventually by the Israelites (Solomon built him a temple in 1 Kings 11:7). This worship was carried out by throwing babies onto fire pits.
 
Nimrod, the creature I believe will once again be revealed as Antichrist is a figure who was worshiped by child sacrifice. The United States of America has laws protecting the practice of burning babies alive in the womb with saline (salt) solution. In a very real effect, the practice of abortion in America is a form of Molech, Moloch, Ba’al, Nimrod, Antichrist worship.
 
If you consider yourself “pro-choice,” then you might as well be worshiping Antichrist.

Notes on Exodus 16-18

The children of Israel are wandering into the “wilderness of Sin” which is obviously a geographical location, but I cannot escape the word “Sin” here. I get a picture of the Israelites who were just rescued from hell on Earth, yet still struggle in the wilderness of their own sins. They are found wandering, complaining, and once again wish that God had killed them in their captivity rather than allow them to live with the difficulties of being free.

I also love Moses’ response, which should ALWAYS be the response of someone who is doing what God told them to do. In Exodus 16:8, he says “what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.”

He beings with a humble question. “What are we?” Who do you guys think we are? Then immediately points out that Moses and Aaron are just following God’s Word, therefore, if you have a problem with it, then God is with whom you take issue.

I wish more pastors would take this line of reasoning. I wish more CHRISTIANS would. The problem, in my opinion, is that too many of us are NOT following God’s Word. Our pastors have been leading churches with more of a business model than that of divine inspiration. I know for a fact that some churches are more concerned with financial health and numerical audience growth than of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide their decisions. They have allowed themselves to be deceived that they are doing the “right thing,” but the lack of spiritual growth in their members says otherwise.

Our churches are more concerned with marketing than preaching the Truth. Christian universities are more concerned with pumping out copies of copies (a simulacra) of pastors who preach the same way (3-4 bullet points for about 40 minutes on a topical “sermon series” chosen up to a year in advance) from the same books (written by men, not the Bible) who were taught that the King James Bible is flawed and imperfect, thus, we have no access to the inspired, perfect Word of God unless we can speak and read Hebrew and a dead Greek language (Koine).

I take issue with Christians who pervert God’s Word and subvert His will. If we were all doing what we were supposed to be doing, like Moses and Aaron, then I would have no reason to murmur.

When the Israelites were starving, God provided food for them. Once again, miracle after miracle, and the children of Israel STILL couldn’t help but disobey when Moses told them not to leave their food out. It spoiled. When Moses did tell them to leave their food out, it remined fine. God preserves his bounty, so long as we follow His rules.

There is a “type of Christ” tucked away neatly in Exodus 17:6, “thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall water come out of it.” Jesus Christ is the rock, and he was beaten until blood (and actual water) came out of him.

Yet another “type of Christ” occurs in verse 12. In order for the Israelites to defeat their enemy, Moses had to keep his arms outstretched. This is a picture of Christ stretching his arms out on the cross to defeat sin.

Exodus 18 has some interesting gems in it as well.

The first of which is when Jethro (Moses’ father in-law) hears of the plagues and exodus from Egypt. He says in verse 11, “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.”

This is not something to overlook. Jethro clearly believes that the gods are actual beings. As I mentioned in my notes on Exodus 7-12, God challenged each of the Egyptian gods and won. Jethro says “in the thing wherein they dealt proudly” which seems to verify what I thought happened with the plagues.

The passage ends with a very dangerous proposition that happens to many Christians today. Moses was tasked with certain responsibilities. He was a prophet and military leader. However, he took it upon himself to also be a judge, rather than allow God to judge the Israelites or at least appoint judges Himself. Rather than listening to God’s counsel, Moses turned his ear to Jethro. His father in-law meant well, I am sure, but he was also just a man. Jethro advised Moses with sound human advice.

This is what we do way too often. We try to find the answers ourselves, and when we get overwhelmed we turn to our friends and family. They want to help us, but they are most likely not executing God’s wisdom. Taking their advice often leads to the same dead ends that we would have run into by doing it our own way. God wants us to listen to HIM, not our parents or best friends.

The result of Moses appointing judges, rather than allowing God to do so, slid down the slippery slope from removing God as the head of the nation to adding judges which didn’t go over well, and eventually putting kings in charge. A human king, as we see ample evidence of, is no match for the Heavenly King. Humans are full of corruption, while Christ is perfect and merciful.

Notes on Exodus 13-15

Egypt is a “type” of the world; the sinful, secular world. Thus, when God brings the children of Israel OUT of Egyptian bondage, we see a picture of salvation. Just as God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, Christ brings us out of slavery to sin.

Notice, however, the way that the Israelites react when the Egyptians (the world) catches up to them in Exodus 14:12. They say “it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

This is an interesting correlation to the way human beings seem to react whenever a difficult situation arises. It is easier to give in to sin than to continue to struggle against it.

Exercising free will is difficult. Consider the political systems around the globe. The reason why so few nations are truly free, is because freedom is not easy. We seem to be a race bent on being ruled. It’s in our DNA. What causes conflict is that we are supposed to be ruled by GOD, not man. When we put our freedom in the hands of human leaders, they only tighten their fists and squash it.

It also amazes me just how quickly the Israelites forget how awful their bondage was. They are just a few miles away from slavery, and already want to return. Freedom is scary, and fear makes us irrational.

Another interesting note is with regards to Pharaoh’s apparent mental illness. Not only did he go back on his promise to free the Israelites several times as the plagues were ravaging his country, but in Exodus 14:5 he says “why have we done this?” It’s as if he woke from what he thought was a delusion, only to find out that the reality is that he gave up his slaves. He completely forgot the ten plagues and death of his firstborn son.

The picture here is that sin is a delusion. It makes us believe that we can ignore the pain and suffering of our actions as if we deserve no punishment. This is a fitting reminder that an entitlement culture, such as ours, is filled with selfish megalomaniacs who refuse to accept blame. The result of which is our utter destruction; just as Pharaoh’s obsession with the Israelites led to his drowning in the Red Sea.

My final observation from this passage is in Exodus 15:3. “The LORD is a man of war:”

Western Christians seem to forget that we are engaged in a spiritual battle. God is a man of war. Jesus Christ will return as a conquering King who destroys his enemies in the book of Revelation. We, as believers, are soldiers. We are to fight spiritual battles here on Earth, which is why we are directed to put on the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17).

We are not to be whiny cowards who give up our freedom to carnal leaders. We are not supposed to battle against the Word of God by constantly trying to change it. We are not supposed to “educate” ourselves out of the warfare that is going on around us. Too many Christians would rather hole up in their ivory towers of academia trying to learn dead languages (looking at you, Koine Greek) and overthrow the perfect, inspired Word of God (the KING JAMES VERSION) causing division in our ranks. There are traitors in our midst. There are traitors in our pulpits! My beef is not with them, but with the spiritual wickedness that they represent!

The pollution of God’s Word is the removal of our primary weapon (Eph. 6:18). Without the Sword of the Spirit, we are only left with defense. No battle can be won without an offense. Those who seek to take away our Bible want us disarmed, and too many Christians today gladly throw their weapons down.

My Bible is my sword. It is purified as silver refined in a furnace seven times (Psalm 12:6). How can we expect to engage in battle when you remove our perfect, pure, refined silver swords and replace them with cheap imitations?

The Church as it stands today fears its freedom. Like the Israelites, Western Christians would rather be slaves to this world than die free in Christ. They gladly lay down swords for shackles. Fear not, for I will put on my armor AND take up arms so that I might be ready to wage war alongside Jesus Christ, for my God is a “man of war!”

Are you?

Notes on Exodus 4-6

The skepticism and hesitation to be obedient expressed by Moses in Exodus 4-6 is telling of the human condition.

1. We always doubt God. Here is Moses talking to a bush that burns but is not consumed, and he STILL argues with God about doing what he is told. He uses the excuse that we all make when it comes to telling others about God and Jesus Christ. “They won’t listen to me anyway.”

2. We must witness a “sign” to believe. A burning bush was not enough. Moses also threw down his shepherd’s rod and watched it turn into a serpent. He grabbed it by its tail and watched it return to a rod in his hand. Still not good enough, God had to turn Moses’ flesh into a leprosy covered hand, then cure him of the disease.

3. We refuse to be uncomfortable. Even after all the signs, Moses STILL remains hesitant. He begins to make excuses about how poor of a speaker He is. God, speaking from a burning bush, who just turned a rod into a serpent, and gave and healed Moses a leprous hand, continues to argue with a reluctant Moses. As if the Almighty who could do all these things could not help Moses with his speech.

Is this not what we do when we are called to do something we don’t necessarily want to do? We make excuse after excuse, and no “sign” is ever good enough for us. We continue to hesitate and beat around the bush. This avoidance of duty is not limited to Moses, it pops up several times throughout God’s Word.

4. We still don’t do what we were told. Even after ALL THIS, Moses violated the Abrahamic covenant by not circumcising his son, and botched the message that God gave him for Pharaoh. Moses was supposed to say “Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.”

Moses and Aaron instead said “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.” The result was the anger of Pharaoh that led to the increase of labor for the Hebrews in captivity. They were no longer given straw, but had to find their own and still keep up their pace of brick making.

Moses had the inspired Word of God given to him, but changed the words anyway. The result was a near catastrophe. Have we learned this lesson yet? Many of our translations change the Words of God. The result is a lack of Spiritual motivation in the Western world unseen since just before Christ’s resurrection. The growth rate of global Christianity has slowed to a crawl. The salvation rate in our churches has become minimal. In fact, there is a decline in Christian religiosity in the United States over the last three decades that is unrivaled in our nation’s history.

The result of the Church’s constant skepticism toward God, the incessant need for signs as “proof”, refusing to be uncomfortable and risking alienation of our friends and family when standing up for our principles, making excuses for why we cannot stand for what is right and true, and continuing to avoid doing what we are told to do is the demise of Western Christianity.

Nietzsche famously said, “God is dead, and we have killed him.” Christians get up in arms about the first half of that statement, but conveniently ignore the rest. The sentiment is that we, the Church; the Western world, have killed the very idea of God. If we are upset that the Holy Spirit is leaving America, we must acknowledge that Christians are the ones running Him off.

God is not dead, but He has removed His blessing, and it is ALL OUR FAULT!