Pentecost (and Migration Crisis post)
Updated: Jun 10
The Christian Church celebrates Pentecost as the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers. However, our understanding is minimal and confused. In Acts, we find the Holy Spirit come down as a fire upon believers, and the people spoke in languages they did not know. However, this is an adaptation of a story from the book of Numbers about a group of people becoming new leaders.
As Moses is leading the people through the wilderness, he needs help to judicate the conflict that rose between people. According to the oral tradition, his father-in-law advises him to designate 70 people to act as judges on his behalf. This system then became the governing method in the Promised Land.
However, to ensure that people accept them as the leaders, the Spirit of God “rested” upon them, and they “prophesied.” The Spirit coming upon them legitimized their authority as representatives of God; they would not be making decisions by their own wisdom, but they would be guided by God.
The allegory of the Spirit “resting” on them is again used in the book of Acts by the new religion of The Way to symbolize that God is with them. The Spirit “resting” upon them signified a new era of leaders for the people of God. However, just like the seventy elders before them, there is no record of them “prophesying” or speaking in tongues ever again.
The Old Testament text reports that the leaders spoke in tongues only once to make it clear that the ability to prophesy was not based on the power of individuals themselves but the work of God.
Paul is the only one who mentions speaking in tongues, but only in the early letters. As he gains legitimacy among the people, his need to speak in tongues disappears. Some scholars also conjectured that this was a theological error on the part of Paul that others helped him correct. Either way, the constant manifestation of the Spirit by means of “dramatic prophesying” or “speaking in tongues” does not become a part of the early church. Once the messenger is accepted as acting on behalf of God, special divine activity is no longer necessary.
However, there are some who take verses out of context and will quote Paul to promote the idea that we need special dispensation of the Spirit at all times. Some even go as far as claiming they have fuller experiences of the Spirit because they have a personal “tongue” language. Without it, they say we only experience salvation but not the “fullness” of God, meaning we are lesser Christians than them. When they “speak in tongues,” they do not know what they are saying; they assume it is God. Because they do not understand it, they assume it must be spiritual. This is contrary to the Bible.
Scripture is clear that they are “deceived by the devil” and they are “false teachers” because the work of the Spirit on the selected few was a symbolic way of ensuring that the rest of the people accept those individuals as leaders in the church. We now “ordain” and “install” people into various leadership positions to signify the same thing.
This Sunday, Rene Anita Chombeng, the immigration organizer of the Presbytery of the Pacific, is preaching while I am helping my youngest build a greenhouse in Canaan, NY. I am very proud of their efforts to live in peace with the land; it is a privilege that they invited me to participate in the project.
With Anita preaching, I want to address the root causes of the current global migration crisis. The media outlets are only talking about what is happening today and are not looking at the root causes of the crisis. Don’t even let me get started on the fake infomercials of the Fox lies for idiots.
We, you and I, are responsible for today's migration crisis. The U.S. government has been engaged in global interventions to provide you and me with a better life. Our comfort and luxury have been bought with the tears, blood, suffering, and death of millions of people around the world. We have the responsibility to remove our national border and welcome everyone.
From its inception, the U.S. government has meddled in other countries' internal affairs in the name of our national security. Following the War of 1812, when the British burned down a part of the White House, the U.S. adopted the policy of fighting wars in other people’s backyards. After seeing the death, destruction, and devastation of war, the U.S. decided to use other countries as buffers to prevent foreign armies from being on U.S. soil.
Since then, there has not been one single foreign war on U.S. soil. Not one house has been burned down, and not one bomb has fallen on our cities. In Viet Nam alone, the U.S. dropped more than 7.5 million tons of bombs, more than twice that was dropped by all sides during WWII. Do I need to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
In 1803, the U.S. took control of the mid-section of the continent, and in 1848 it obtained full control of the North American continent to have two oceans as its east-west border. The U.S. has maintained Canada and Mexico as its de facto territories through threats and foreign aid to ensure safe southern and northern borders. The U.S. interfered in every Mexican and South American election to maintain its control of the region.
Since its founding, the U.S. has engaged in over 400 interventions, military and covert, around the globe, with more than 200 interventions since WWII. We were embarrassed when the egregious sin of the CIA assassinating the democratically elected president Allende of Chile became public. This was not the only time the U.S. was responsible for murdering a foreign leader or coup d’etat. We have removed leaders, bombed nations, destabilized economies, led fake news campaigns, and committed cyber crimes against other nations, all in the name of democracy.
Every day we hear our government complaining about human rights violations committed by other countries and how the international tribunals should hold their leaders accountable. However, the U.S. is NOT a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has the responsibility to prosecute individuals accused of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War crimes, and Crimes of Aggression. The ICC was founded to bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humanity when the national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.
It is not an accident that the U.S. is not a signed member of the ICC since charges of war crimes are pending against several of our presidents, including Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
After decades of the U.S. colonizing, installing military dictatorships, and destabilizing economies, people can no longer live in their countries. At the same time, with your tax money, the U.S. government has funded massive marketing campaigns telling the poor people just how wonderful life is in the U.S. So, when their despair and hope intersect, carrying only the will to live, they head towards the U.S. border. After all, we told them to do so.
They are coming for what is rightfully theirs; they are coming for what they have sacrificed for years. We have what is rightfully theirs because they paid for it; they have been paying with their blood for more than 200 years. We say, “Stay at the border,” and they say, “No mas.” As Dr. Martin Luther King said in his I Have a Dream speech, they are coming to “cash a check…a check [that was returned] marked insufficient funds.”
We are telling them that they are aliens, but they are saying since they already paid the price, they are rightful citizens. And they are right.