Tag: big brother

Healthy Biblical Position on Privacy and Security

Second revision: March 17, 2016

The other day I indicated to a Bible-believer friend that I would prefer to only communicate with this person (and everyone else) by means of Telegram or secured email, rather than SMS messaging or totally unsecured email.  To my surprise, this person replied back that they were ‘unsure of their biblical position on privacy’.

Being quite surprised, and being who I am, I replied back in a simple email that “this is not a topic of discussion because it’s so simple” and I blasted out my points.  I am not sorry for hitting this person hard with my opinion, but I am sorry, perhaps about making it sound like the dialogue was one way, and for not dedicating further explanation to my strong opinion.  People like me need to remember that technology for most people is like some kind of ‘magic’.  It just kind of works.  And when it doesn’t work they hate it.  It makes their life more convenient (so they think) and they do *not* want to change what works for them today.  That’s why you will see old people emailing forwarded attachment for young people to waste their time trying to open and then regret wasting their time opening…

But as a first step, I tried to imagine what they must be thinking about in terms of a position and brought it up with another believer and he came up with these things they must be considering:

  • God knows all, and my privacy exists not. If I’m not hiding from God, then why do I need to hide from people/man?
  • God’s will will be done, somewhat independently of my technological choices (Though He will choose to work through man).

I now can see how thoughts like these might actually put someone in a position of inaction or even a kind of technological paralysis, if you will.  Again, I understand more than anyone how making a big technological change takes time and thinking and often gets dropped down the list.

But if you claim to to believe and follow the teachings of the Bible, then you have a much different position to take and to me, this is a very simple position which I established with the following series of questions which needed to be answered:

  • Is technology based in the world, or based in heaven?
  • Did God warn us about end times events?
  • If God gives a warning, do we heed the warning or do we go along as if He never spoke?

And so, this conversation, to me, is very similar to the conversation of “Why should I be worried about the environment if Jesus is coming tomorrow and the whole earth will be destroyed anyway?”  The reason someone would take this shallow perspective about God’s wonderful creation is because the creation scriptures were either missed, or God hasn’t yet opened their eyes.  But it’s certainly *not* the right way to treat the world while you are here.   People who have not yet gotten serious about their privacy and security with their technology are much like those who haven’t spent the time or energy to be concerned about the environment.  Yes, Jesus is coming tomorrow, but before that He has called us to be wise stewards of things while here and respect His creation.  Yes, Satan is having a heyday by spying on you but there are wonderful solutions out there that are not difficult to implement.  But, back to the unanswered questions above:

Is technology based in the world, or based in heaven?

It’s wordly. It’s part of the world’s system.  Although it’s not in the Bible I feel confident there is no internet connection or GPS needed in heaven.  Furthermore, I feel that God has given us creative minds to help protect us against evildoers and the enemy’s work against us and our families while we bring the Good News to a dying world.  Another analogy I thought of was the smoke alarm.  Can God save you supernaturally from the perils of fire in your home? Certainly.  But he has also given us a simple device and a 9 volt battery which allows us to focus on sleeping instead of wondering if the house is on fire….  I really like that peace, but feel free to remove your smoke alarm, cowboy…

Did God warn us about end times events.

Yes.  There will be a mark of the beast which will prevent you from buying, selling, and essentially living normally in this earth’s system.  If you do not believe this will be facilitated by technology, you need not read further – you are out to lunch and seriously need a cold glass of water splashed in your sleepy face. It’s in the book of Revelation.  I think chapter 13.  Go ahead, read your Bible.  You clearly have missed your quiet time…

If God gives a warning, do we heed the warning or do we go along as if He never spoke?

Now, if you thought I was being hard on you up till now, put on your seat belt.  I have a strange feeling you will agree that the prophetic mark of the beast will be a technological device/system/chip/etc.  The Bible also says that we will be ‘hated by all nations for the name of Jesus.” (Jesus said that somewhere).  So I don’t foresee any other future for the Bible believers other than bleak in this world.  That’s also why Jesus said to ‘take up our cross daily’ and why Paul said somewhere “I die daily”.  This world ain’t our home sheepsters.  And so eventually all of us will be persecuted and killed.  Jesus promised it.  It’s a guarantee.  Sure, the rapture might happen before, during or after, but we can be sure that before then the enemy will be gathering digital data on who the believers are for simple one-stop destroying.  If there were no options at all to prevent, slow down, hinder, make more difficult, aggravate, challenge, etc this process, I’d say lie down in a ball and do nothing  because it’s over.  But there are lots of easy, fun, and excellent solutions to make the process much more difficult.  So, do we just go the way of the world in the treatment of our privacy and the privacy of our family, or do we take wise, active steps towards protecting this precious gift called privacy?  Do you let your children change into their pyjamas in front of an open window at night time because ‘you have nothing to hide’, or do you close the blinds as a preventative measure to prevent evil behaviour towards you?  Maybe you want to change naked in front of the window, but please, for the sake of your children, who rely on your wise leadership, close the blinds for them. And do the same with your digital life if not for you, for your children.  God did not put these prophecies in His word *only* as a warning.  A smoke alarm does not sound just to let you know the building is on fire, but to motivate you to get up and *do something*!

Jesus instructed us to be alert and to have our lamps full of oil for we know not when He is coming.  This ‘being alert’ is accomplished through the intellect as well as the spirit.  Jesus also said “Wow.  You guys fully trust your weather network meteorologists but you can’t even see the signs of my coming!”  So, Jesus gives us helpful hints along the way.

Jesus also said that your body is the temple.  I believe that means that we are to do as much as possible to respect that life and preserve it for life is a gift and the life is in the blood.  If you foolishly hand yourself over to be persecuted when a handy-dandy preventative tool was available, that’s just a dog gone waste, in my humble opinionatedness.

Since we are absolutely certain that persecution is coming, we must also be aware that there is a Judas in every group, unless you think that you are less susceptible than Jesus to a Judas.  The Word of God also talks about how our enemies will be those people of our own families for the name of Jesus.  Why do I mention this?  Because it’s critical that everyone be on board with privacy-protecting technology or the weakest link will collapse the group.  Especially if you are meeting in homes and looking less ‘churchy’ than the mainstreamers.

The JW’s like to look at persecution as a blessing but that’s not the blessing God is talking about.  Let’s work with this quick example.

Scenario 1: You are standing beside a railroad track.  You hear a train coming.  You jump on the track and say “God will save me!”  SPLAT!  Ooops.

Scenario 2: You are standing *on* the rail road track.  You hear a train coming.  You stand still and take no action and say “God will save me!” SPLAT!  Oops.

In both cases, you have committed sin.  The first was a sin of action and the second a sin of inaction.

In my increasingly opinionated humility, I believe by not protecting the privacy of yourself and your family and putting yourself in harms way knowing now that there are ways to prevent harm – that you are not pleasing the Lord.

Conclusion

How about this: Let’s forget your personal pain, suffering and inconvenience related to improving your technological habits.  Let’s say you just don’t care about you and that ‘God is coming soon anyway, so whatever.”  By not doing your part you are definitely hurting someone else who values privacy right now, because the seeds of loosely transmitted data are always felt in a crop down the road.  You are also assisting their enemies in all of their dirty work.  You are *not* “assisting terrorists” as the popular media would like to deceive you into believing.  No matter what way you look at this, giving freely *your* data only assists them with the task of hurting you and those around you – perhaps not today but one day. I also don’t mind a little bit of self-inflicted, but I shudder to think that lack of care about myself (ie. an unencrypted email about Jesus to my friend) might wind *them* up in jail or worse.  In this case sharing is *not* caring.

Perhaps you are thinking that by handing over all your data freely that you are helping the world catch bad guys. Ok, let’s roll with that idea.  Then, since you are not bad, you are actually wasting the time and computer resources of these good cops and their spy work because they are using unnecessary resources to spy on you – a good guy.  If you just encrypted, they would have passed over you and moved on to the foolish criminal who didn’t encrypt and caught him quicker.

Ultra Conclusion

The root cause of this ‘position problem’ is not a biblical one but an earthly one.  It’s one that needs to be dealt with in the earthly, soulical, intellectual way with the reasoning faculties that God gave you.  The problem is also rooted in your priority set.  Are you watching TV for an hour a day?  You could have spent that “technology time” learning about privacy solutions instead of having the boob tube pump fear into your heart with unfounded comments like ‘assisting terrorists’.  The other root cause of the problem is habits.  Bad habits die really hard.  The first step to stop smoking is to hear about the possibility that it might be bad for your health.  This blog has now been that to you for technology.  You know now.  You cannot claim ignorance.  The second step is to learn more to find out if it’s true.  This blog is only partly that.  You must now go and learn for yourself to see if what I’m saying is hogwash or beefdirt (just made that up).  The third step is to take action.  Do something.  Don’t just hand everything over to everyone on a silver platter – it’s really unwise – and it’s not nice to people who are trying to maintain *their* right to privacy.

Final note

I know this isn’t easy.  That’s why I’m writing hard to you.  It takes a bit of a kick in the hindquarters to start down a new road.  But here is the great news – each day gets easier.  With the right people around you and with enough time dedicated, you’ll be making great choices for you and your family in no time.  I hope this will spare many of you brothers and sisters a lot of future pain.  I’ll do my best to blog more practical solutions here as I find time but don’t sit around and wait for me.  The answers are easy to find.

And please – don’t be offended someone cuts off communication with you using technology if you refuse to remain unwilling to become proactive; You can’t expect them to put themselves or their family at risk for you when there are solutions available.

Milestones to Start (some are instant, some quick, some perhaps less quick)

Things You Can do Today to Improve

  1. Start hanging out with people who care about privacy.  If most of your circle ‘has nothing to hide’ – you’re in deep doo-doo. Find a local Ubuntu group, for example.
  2. If using chatting IM apps, use Telegram. Telegram has encryption. Ditch the others ASAP. Bring your friends to Telegram when you ditch.
  3. Replace SMS with Telegram app wherever possible. SMS is brutally spied on.
  4. For email set up PGP encryption.
  5. Convert all your current computers to Ubuntu operating system
  6. Get immediately off: Facebook and Linked in and any other compromised ‘social media’.
  7. Ask all of your friends and family to respect you and your privacy by not asking you to participate in anything that violates your privacy (ie. unsecure email, SMS, etc)

Things you can do Today and Tomorrow (money may not permit today, but should be in plans)

  1. Start hanging out with people who care about privacy.  If most of your circle ‘has nothing to hide’ – you’re in deep doo-doo. Find a local Ubuntu group, for example.
  2. When you buy your next mobile device, make sure it’s Ubuntu
  3. Disconnect from everything Google. And I mean *everything* (yes, it’s possible)
  4. Wipe the hard drives 100 times and sell or discard anything Apple/Mac
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Is the Current Christian Church Biblical?

As I trudge along my spiritual journey to meet Truth Himself (Jesus is Truth)(remember that famous scene when Pontias Pilate said ‘What is truth?”) I have now come to what I used to think was small potatoes – the church.  I always used to view ‘the church’ as a kind of vehicle that helps you get to heaven – kind of like how a school is a vehicle that helps you get a better job.  It turns out both were lies.

Ack!  I’m pretty sure I just saw the Pope drive by my front window in a lowered car with tinted windows…

Wait Pope Daddy!  Let me explain!

In both cases, it’s about who you become, not where you go that matters and in both cases it’s about the people, not about the building.  I won’t waste my time on the education topic but I am eternally interested in the church and what God thinks about it and my role in it.

The purpose of this post is *not* to be divisive and appear heretical.  The purpose of this post is an honest search for truth.  The cults of the world absolutely love to point out that ‘Christianity is full of denominations so it can’t be the truth’.  Even the Catholic church uses this point.  And they are right.  It is all messed up and fragmented and not as it appears as the bride that Jesus is coming back for – without wrinkle or blemish.  This current church is blemished up the kahuna!  I have no idea what that means by the way…

Before I hack away like an angry health inspector on all the issues that I see with the current ‘church machine’, I’d like to first acknowledge that problems had already arisen and been identified in the body of Christ throughout the new testament.  Sometimes I like to point to the first church as a model but it wasn’t without problems either.  Nor should that be surprising.  Satan is on a full attack against the Truth.  Satan has little interest in deceived organizations.  They are already his.

So from Revelations 2-4 kind of range (I’m too lazy to look it up) the body of Christ already had the following major issues that Jesus was giving first hand warnings about:

  • false apostles
  • deeds of Nicolaitans (whatever that means)(probably liberal Canadian views on everything)
  • eating food sacrificed to idols
  • fornication/sexual immorality
  • dead religion (church zapped of everything)
  • lukewarm lazy slobs in need of nothing from God

I kind of paraphrased but whatever – read it on your own dime.

Here are the issues I see with the current church machine:

Elevated Role of the Pastor

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers

In the above list you will note there are five (5) key roles that God gives people.  The current pastor is expected to be all five which is bad for him, and bad for you – and it’s not from God.  Side effects from this lop-sided spiritual distribution may be:

  • excessive stress on the pastor
  • top-down incorrect theology trickling down
  • controlling and manipulation

Salaried Pastor

It seems that the default position of the pastor is to be salaried, instead of defaulting to tent-maker.  I have no idea where this one came from.  To me this is just illogical and bad business.  When you start a business, the co-founders starve and flip burgers at night until there is enough customer base to generate their income.  If they don’t do this, investors will look at the operation and ask why they should be funding their steak dinners and car payments.  Sorry to be so nasty on this topic but I read in the Bible that Paul made tents so his salary wasn’t a burden on the church.  That’s biblical.  The side effects from a salaried pastor may be:

  • pressure to take up more offerings
  • pressure to focus too much on the offering
  • pressure to teach the old testament tithe as new testament law
  • Guilt on the pastor for being a burden on what may be a small group (I assume this?)
  • temptation *not* to preach messages that might offend the people who drop the largest offerings
  • temptation to preach endless messages on financial giving
  • temptation to do what the elders or other board members think is best even if it’s not God
  • etc

Again, to me this is just basic business.  I have no problem giving a salary to any God-serving man or woman but it has a long list of potential dangers that I believe are to be avoided.  Just to be fair, the argument *for* the salaried pastor is to free this person up for the full time work of the ministry.

No Hard Preaching

The Bible is full of hard truths.  Pornography, for example, is both idolatry and fornication and divorce is unbiblical and damaging to everyone involved.  Oh, and of course the ever-distracting theme of homosexuality.  The only time that one is preached is when it’s being preached against and the impending destruction on our world like Sodom and Gomorrah.  Fair enough!  That’s true.  But isn’t it exciting to think that we can actually be the ones to help all these people above get free and HEALED!!???????  I know!  Make me walk the plank!  What a rebel rouser!  Excommunicate him!  Firing squad!  Sheeeeeeeesh.

If a full-blown sinner involved in, let’s just say fornication or adultery, can sit comfortably in your church for a few weeks, you need to seriously question which parts of the Bible you are preaching (or not preaching).  But we can’t just preach them out without letting them know there is a glorious freedom to be had.  The best day of my life was my born-again birthday when I realized the chains of my sins were broken and powerless over me and my relationship with God.

Elevated Physical Position of the Pastor

This section may just be my opinion (warning).

Not sure why this bugs me but I have always been bothered by the uni-directional, slightly elevated position of the pastor.  Usually there are a few risers and then a big pulpit.  Then off to the side is the rock band.  It just always seems like a ‘show’.  I suppose it comes from the need to project the voice and hear everything in times past.  It’s probably that simple.  But it feels like a university lecture hall with a rock band.  Who in the world participates or interacts with those?  Answer: No one.  And if you do, the other people don’t like you for interrupting the speaker.  So, I suppose if the whole goal of ‘church’ is to show up and hear a uni-directional message from the Bible without interruption, then mission accomplished.  But what if the pastor is preaching something that is totally off base?  What if something is burning inside of you from the Holy Ghost and God is telling you to share it with His people?  What if you are a prophet and this message must get out?  I’m sure God will forgive you for not wanting to interrupt the speaker for the sake of order.  Plus, you could email it to the mailing list after… HA?

Elevated Physical Position of the Worship Team

The more I look at what satan is doing in the secular world with music and idolatry, the more I am concerned about this ‘worship team’.  I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie on a secular kids DVD this week.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bunch of tatooed hipsters with nasty haircuts, torn jeans and the like jumping around on a stage with all sorts of acid-induced lighting.  Had I not seen the words of the song on the screen behind them I would have surely thought this was a secular rock concert.  Every part of it looked secular.  It just kind of creeped me right out.  That’s all.  It was one of those ‘this is wrong’ moments. I don’t want to dwell on the ‘christians looking like the world’ topic but the ‘rock band’ thing really seems to be established in the weekly worship.  My idea was always ‘what would happen if we stuck the band BEHIND the congregation and started worshipping?  My guess is that no one would know what to do or how to worship – which is just plain disturbing.  Disclaimer: I have not run the test to check!

Boxed Lunch Set Meal

I also like to call this ‘compartmentalized faith’.  It’s also known as ‘the Sunday Christian’.  It’s the packaging up of our faith into nice little sections of our life, right down to the way we perform our ‘service’ (which by the way 5% of the people serve and 95% are served by the 5%).  It looks a little bit like this: quiet music, intro prayer, praise and worship team rock out, optional hymn(s) here, main prayer, sermon, closing prayer, optional communion here, the blessing prayer thing, a little more quiet music, hand shaking, optional meals, departures.  Repeat next week.  Sometimes in between there might be a prayer meeting or a cell group meeting but not usually.

All of the above is fine, per se, but I double-dog DARE any of you to try to change ANY of it.  I DARE you to listen to that still quiet voice inside of you and obey it and see what happens.  From my experience, the program dominates.  As a quick example, God might be leading the praise and worship team to continue.  After all, in heaven all we are going to do is worship God so maybe we should practice this blessed skill here a little more.  But if the clock says to stop and God says to continue…… who will win?

So, in conclusion, the program, the compartments and the order seems to win. I want to also declare that I love order and habitual things can be very good.  It’s very good to wake up with an alarm clock and read your Bible.  But these things cannot rule over the voice of the Living God and prevent our obedience to Him.

I do boldly declare that the church has become ‘meeting focused’ not ‘Christ focused’.

Lacking Discipleship

This again is not really the ‘fault’ of the pastor or ‘the church’ per se, but a cumulative result of the reliance on the Boxed Meal Comfort Syndrome (BMCS).  It’s much more comfortable to commit to one or two hours per week.  It’s much more comfortable to not open our ugly closets of sin and selfishness to our brothers. It’s much more comfortable not to look at their closets.  It’s much more comfortable to not pray with others and hence not be responsible for watching a failed prayer.  It’s much more comfortable to walk by programs than by faith.  It’s very comfortable to be a modern day Christian in a first world country and I’m no exception.  But Jesus said these troubling yet exciting words:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (most translations say ‘making disciples of all nations’), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  (Matthew 28:19)

Jesus’ disciples didn’t wake up one day and know everything.  They lived and breathed the Living Word and then put into daily practice the command of living out the commandments.  We are to spend time and mentor others the same way that Jesus did with them.  That’s our model and it works.  If the business world has figured it out maybe it’s time for the church to revisit this one?

Limited Bible Knowledge

I’ll keep this one short and simple.  It’s shocking how little the people in your church know about what’s really in the Bible.  All of the above explains it though.  But no wonder we are lead to and fro by every wind of doctrine and food for the wolves.

Superficial Relationships

This is typically a by-product of the Boxed Lunch Meal above.  It’s very, very difficult to build meaningful and deep relationships if the only chance we have to do so is at the handshake and departure section of the Sunday meeting.  Many people are surprised to learn of sudden divorces, pornography addictions, adultery and more.  Why are you surprised? You don’t even know these people beyond a handshake.  If you were in their lives I’m very confident that God would have shown you the red flags waving and used you in some amazing way.  But you just saw their surface smile, not their dark broken insides.

I also feel that this is one of the reasons why the love is disappearing at an alarming rate from the church and why believers are turning to every other form of deception.  If true Christ-like love flowed like a river amongst your body of believers (the church) you would hunger and thirst for their fellowship.

Programs Programs Programs

This is another by-product of the Boxed Lunch Meal above.  The only way to deal with the scriptures that the Bible talks about related to outreach and work while maintaining the church machine system in it’s current state is to create programs that fit within that system.  I’m very glad for the good deeds being done, but I have to be honest. I don’t want a program.  I want a relationship with God Almighty and I’m pretty sure the people on the receiving end of the program do too.  So, as long as that is the goal and every single person in the group is going down this road, hallelluyah!  But a lot of people use ‘programs’ to appease their conscience which knows that they are not growing in Christ, nor doing the works themselves.  So they fund a program or join a few times here and there.

In Bed with Big Brother

This topic is interesting.  It seems as though either the church hasn’t thought of this or doesn’t know. As mentioned in another one of my articles, if you would like to see what any church (or charity) has done with their money in Canada, all you need to do is click this link to our friends at the CRA and take a peek.  Here, try for yourself.  Enter your favourite church’s name and watch the results!

That’s downright disturbing for so many reasons, but if you are familiar with the mark of the beast in Revelation, that might be a good place for you to start your research.

The church signed up for that deal, no question, and if any persecutions started one could simple shut down the church…. except for one problem: Everyone who has ever given money to said organization for the bliss of a tax receipt is also now linked by their social insurance number (SIN) which is linked to this blissful believers home address.

If I were a man given to fear, that would be scary….

It seems to me as though wisdom would call the Body of Christ to seriously and quickly question whether this is in the best interest of themselves or their congregation but I have a strange hunch that this will be a very tricky habit to break free from if one were to try.

Those tax deductions are like catnip to a cat.

Christmas and Easter Focused

I’ve done lots of writing on this topic and you can search this blog for it.  I’m kind of bored of the topic. I have decided both Christmas and Easter have nothing to do with Jesus and should not be a focus.  Yet every church focuses on these two days.  Enough said. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

Non-Local Congregations

This is another smaller point but I just want to point out that in the current church machine many well meaning people burn a lot of gas driving to congregations.  I feel that the more local we are, the more relevant we are. Simple as that.

Sunday Worship

Another small one.  I know the ‘day’ doesn’t matter, per se, but it’s just kind of weird that Christians meet on Sunday and not Saturday which was the sabbath.  I don’t want to spend too much time or energy on this but it is worth at least asking ‘why’, isn’t it?  Sun?  Day? Why?

And that just about wraps up what I thought was going to be a 20 minute post.  I have now grown older and grey and my bladder is about to explode so I must bid thee farewell, thou who readeth.

Blessings to you.

 

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