The Crisis To Be Addressed

(last updated June 30, 2021)

The Two Spies Report blog (and the related Two Spies universe, including Facebook page, books and other media) is intended to be a home for those across the cultural spectrum who are concerned, or better yet alarmed, about what we as Western societies are now becoming as human beings, collective clans and cultures, with roots of such we will find in our “exceptional” history but which appears to be accelerating in the last few years, or rather just revealing the sublimated darkness which which has heretofore been simmering just under the surface – days of rage, disinformation, false prophets and demagogues, violence, false religion, hate, aggression, confrontation, the disconnection from reality, fundamental truths and credible sources, and apocalyptic agendas that seek revolution and destruction of much of civilization and its advances – and that’s just the church folk!

It expresses itself in recent days as the prevailing public and local expressions of the rising lack of any sense of common brotherhood or respect for the Golden Rule, tenser relations between disparate social and political groups, a growing natural propensity to paranoia, apocalypticism and aggression in words and deeds and the tone of our public and private dialogues and the drivers that herd us to extremist and aggressive positions in social and other mass media. In particular, here the focus will be on role of the highest profile “influencers” and institutions of religious faith and spirituality in our Twenty-First Century society, and what this decaying morass of social disfunction suggests of our inner psychological, sociological and particularly our authentic spiritual foundations and primal urges, in contrast to the historically normative veneers of spiritual and ethical public relations and cultural ideals we claim to venerate and that represent us, in self-congratulatory fashion. It will also, at times, look at the evolution of means by which those who control the levers of mass communication use psychological and even technological methods of advanced suggestibility in humans, and the latter’s biological and psychological vulnerability to such manipulation so as to motivate groups to thoughts and deeds which violate their basic humanitarian and spiritual value systems they claim to be committed to, in a modern state of cognitive dissonance. It will also periodically consider how this knowledge and technology-based modern embodiment of what the ancients called “sorcery” to alter peoples’ conception of reality (formerly the exclusive realm of entheogenic, shamanic natural roots and plants, with the associated rituals or mystery plays) is now manifest in more sophisticated ways, even within devout adherents of well-defined, dogma-centered organized religion.

It primarily focuses on the writings and thoughts of myself, Dr. J. Michael Bennett, the former producer and host of the Future Quake radio show, author of the book Two Masters and Two Gospels, Vol. 1: The Teaching of Jesus Vs. the “Leaven of the Pharisees” in Talk Radio and Cable News, host of The Two Spies Report blog on WordPress and its new associated podcast, as well the occasional thoughts of kindred spirits who are similarly concerned and express fortifying thoughts to these topics. I write from a perspective that reflects my heritage, prior influence and upbringing in a working-class, conservative political and religious evangelical home, culture and world view in the Bible Belt, and accordingly reserve my harshest criticism for my peers also raised in such an upbringing, and still steeped in its untested cultural and political presuppositions, for as a practicing, serious-minded Christian I feel I have a right to expect a higher standard in deed, tone and inner spirit and attitude from Christians that reflect the values well-documented about their Founder, from them and myself as a fellow-being also yoked to such a calling.

It also involves exposing the hypocrisy readily observed and noted by outsiders and often overlooked or commonly excused by myself and my religious peers over the years and even today, in spite of our calling to be “salt and light” in our Great Commission calling to society (and burden of duty) to be “fishers of men” and “rescue the perishing” from the “highways and hedges” – an assignment largely not seriously considered in this era of confrontational and aggressive cross-cultural “dialogue” (or rather, just shouting and sabre-rattling). It is hoped that this acknowledgement of such shortcomings and its unacceptability will help restore some integrity and appeal to a spiritual message of redemption and “good news” that a cynical world largely craves in their search for meaning, and they deserve to expect if they are to seriously consider its life-changing implications.

I have academic doctoral and career credentials in engineering and science, and thus am not an authority on theology or other social sciences, but my spiritual and humanitarian values and commitments have fostered my keen interest as a student in these matters to the point of concluding my vocational career starting in 2005 to devote my time and energies to these matters that have societal, global and even eternal consequence.

It is hoped that secularists, materialist moralists, humanists and even those who practice non-Christian faiths would find the upcoming podcast episodes, blog posts, book writings, interviews and other content illustrated across Two Spies forums illuminating and informative as to the nature of the Bible Belt culture and both its lofty goals and its common shortcomings, from a voice from their camp who understands them and the faulty cultural suppositions and ignorance they inherited during their upbringing, while not besmirching their wonderful legitimate spiritual truths (whether outwardly reflected or not) to which they have been privy. It is desired that these “confessionals” might promote understanding and some patience, empathy or even pity for a sometimes well-meaning Religious Right culture, while also showing alternatively that their historical Founder espoused contrasting values and revealed realities of great appeal and promise to a wide swath of peoples and cultures when not distorted by corrupt, agenda-driven figureheads, institutional religious perversions and compromises.

For those Christians often labeled by others derisively as “moderates,” “progressive” or “leftists,” due to their emphasis on Christ’s “weightier matters of the law” of “justice, mercy and faith” and Good Samaritan priorities rather than in the Right’s superficial piety or Pharisee-like cultural separation and active and enthusiastic participation in their perception of God’s wrath on humanity (I know – this is the culture I come from), I hope as minorities within the evangelical, Bible-centered community they find a place here to still consider a serious devotion to Bible teaching and values, along with a willingness to “eat with sinners” and always look out for the “stranger and the poor” and others on the margins, as the Bible repeatedly insists God’s followers will prioritize, and to encourage their inner good virtues while also challenging them to greater devotion, holiness, moral and mental purity and emphasis on their neighbor’s eternal spiritual needs as well as physical.

However, my greatest affinity, heart’s devotion and appeal will be to those raised like me in a Bible Belt-styled all-encompassing Religious Right culture (here using the term “Religious Right” not in an overtly derogatory intention, but rather reflecting a struggle to define a common mindset and value system which a minority of evangelicals do not reflect, but yet cuts across certain conservative Reformed, Catholic, Mormon and other non-evangelical faith communities), which dictated my social and theological views for almost half a century and I deeply understand, including their modern pursuit of culprits of “Christian persecution” that they blame for their estrangement from all their neighbors. I will painfully but faithfully try to hold up a mirror to both them and myself to find the roots of such estrangements, and the extent of departure from the ideals and values of their Founder it suggests. The intention is not to gloat, mock, or harm my brethren, but rather appeal to a higher model of love of neighbor, empathy and humility I know they are capable of if they are willing to do the humble and painful soul-searching and foundational value self-critique that I have also been undertaking for some years, with the goal of redemption, growth and fulfillment of our spiritual potential, and its associated blessings to our neighbors and the integrity of the Gospel message and appeal for followers in our society.

The content will be like what I have stated of my old Future Quake radio show archives – “there is something here to offend everybody” – but if I can promote a community with a mindset and attitude of humble discovery with a lack of defensiveness, with others-centeredness, empathy and understanding, featuring bold contemplation, deep thought, historical and cultural study and growth, and a desire to be better servants of and extend grace to outsiders and to prioritize and look out for the interests of others versus oneself or own clan, then it will have been worth all the effort. I feel that in these days the stakes are so high, with assaults by mobs with Christian flags looking to lynch elected officials in the Capitol, thugs beating up protestors at rallies and fights in the streets, mysterious “stranger” demagogues and conspiracists of unknown motives and underwriting who are building major pluralities of society as devout followers now standing behind them, deadly mass-murder pandemics with many people forming a “death cult” of resistance to protecting their neighbor’s life and cooperating with devoted health authorities and measures (like a nationally-popular “Manson Clan” in values and grasp on reality), and no end in sight to the escalation and extent of destruction of social institutions, personal relations, community tranquility and physical well-being, the commitment to extreme personal resources of time to research, dissemination of findings, communication and appeals to our most basic common humanitarian and spiritual values are well-justified by myself and all persons of good will in society. The goal is to prevent the repeat of the social and spiritual failures of 1920s-30s Germany or even worse, and in particular amongst Christians who are supposed to work in singular devotion as role model examples with their eyes on a future “city not made with human hands,” extolling the values of that Kingdom. I hope this endeavor and forum furthers that cause in finding and cultivating like-minded colleagues across the cultural, political and spiritual spectrum, and serves this noble aim.