Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Counterfeit Life Part One: Occult, Cults, and Scams.

As I watch a friend wonder ever deeper into the bizarre world of The New Age Movement, I asked myself: "Why"? Her latest money loosing adventure has to do with specially made glass "tools" for healing. The instructions for making these tools comes to us from something on "the other side", an Ascended Master. This Ascended Master speaks to and is seen by a living human being. As a Christian, I know what this something is. This is messing around with "spirits". God condemned the practice and counsels us to stay away from all of it. The occult, communicating with the dead and sorcery.

My friend knows how I feel about all of this and held down her enthusiasm while relating the details of her latest Seminar experience. I did some web searching and discovered a massive organization of interlocking companies and practitioners dealing in the utterances of this "Ascended Master". It is no coincidence that these practitioners are also "selling" his wildly expensive "tools". What a racket!

12 glass tools for $3,000! They look like poorly shaped glass bobbles. There is the tiresome, never-ending need to buy the latest gadget suggested by the Ascended Master. My favorite by far is the "Amplifier". This is a gizmo that makes the energy you get from earlier tools more potent! The wheel of "hope" is another side splitting piece of the "equipment". I was shocked to hear that these tools average $250 a piece. They are are of such poor quality as to be easily scratched, if they "bump" things. As part of the healing process, one is required to sleep with and or carry on their person several of these tools. One good nights rest causes scratching. I can buy a $25 paperweight from an office supply store which is more durable then that!

This gal is on a fixed income like I am, but has sunk thousands of dollars into this New Age garbage. Her family is eagerly "assisting" her in a desperate attempt to "help" her. This help is expensive, averaging $300 for a 50 minute "reading". (Average cost of a Psychiatrist is cheaper). She is blind, but her readings describe her soon-to-be "manifested" husband in visual terms!

After one Pump-her-up cycle and a failed relationship attempt, she went to her HMO and they upped her anti depressants! She is absolutely sure her next husband will make her life totally complete. Hardly. I feel both angry at and sad for my friend.

I refer to all of this, including my 20 years with Dr. Scott as "A Counterfeit Life". because the draw is getting all the benefits of a successful life without having to do the work to actually achieve a successful life. Dr. Scott promised me three things:

  1. I didn't have to read the Bible, he'd do it for me.
  2. If I gave money like he taught I'd be rich.
  3. I was involved in the next religious reformation. Smarter then the rest of the pack! (glory).
How do you build a successful relationship with God, a person, an animal or a skill? You have to spend time with it and put in some EFFORT. When I finally realized that Scott had sold me down the river spiritually, I made it my business to read the Bible for myself, by myself. Yeah, its a big book, but at 30 minutes a day, you can read it from cover to cover in a year.

This process of investigation is how you get to "know" and become familiar with God and His ways from The Bible's point of view. My prayer life started to change as I learned how careful God is with details. The way He keeps His people from unseen harm and danger. Little and large discoveries which I still experience when I spend time in the Bible. I invest my time and energy and gain the dividends of knowledge and expanding faith in God.

So now some folks admire and pay attention to my spiritual life and musings. There is no gloating in this situation. I have really learned that God has given me everything I have. He gets the credit. I just show up and tackle what is directly in front of me.

A rule of life. TINSTAAFL "There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch". There is no such thing as easy money, easy relationships, or an easy life. Every scam I've ever studied has at its root a motivation of greed: "... after 18 months I was making $5,000 a month." Doing what, selling Cocaine? (no, Real Estate, phone services, health care or little glass tools at $3,000 a dozen.

Note how the SELLER is making money off YOU the buyer! Real life works out slowly, cumulatively and in fits and starts. (There are no freeways to success). I am achieving some serious success and public recognition at my church as a webmaster and bulletin-maker. However, I had to do put in some serious behind-the-scenes effort for these things.

What you now see is a polished, professional weekly bulletin for the church. What you don't see are the countless hours of study. I had to read about printers, inks, paper, computers and many different programs to get the job done. I had generous help from friends who knew more than I did. They shared their time and friendship with me as I struggled to "learn" how to learn and work.

You don't see the several all-nighters I put in "teaching" myself how a program "really" works. "But it says in the help menu..." Yeah, Virginia, there may be a Santa Claus, but it doesn't really work like that". Oh the joy of getting around a programs "quirks"! You also don't see my hours of praying to, pouting at and arguing with God about how "I just can't do this!" But with all of the above and a lot of help from God, I continue to deliver a needed set of services to my church.

I started really playing around with printing back in 1999. (1999 - 2008 = 9 years)! Don't have buckets of money, or fame, or even a marriage; but I do have the greatest level of contentment and life satisfaction I've ever known.

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