Passover 2016

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Newsletter #37

Pesach in the New Covenant

The Communities of the Twelve Tribes will be closing their cafés and bakeries for what is called “The Feast of Pesach [Passover] and the Days of Unleavened Bread.” (The week of April 24-29, 2016.) This festival presents a metaphor that uncovers the long-lost identity of what this modern world calls “the Church.”

There are many verses in the Bible that are very little known since they can hardly be applied to any contemporary Christian lifestyle. One such passage to “blow the dust off” is 1 Corinthians 5:6-8,

Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Verse 8 shows that the first church was actually commanded to “keep the feast” that was given to old Israel to keep.

If you could travel back to the first century, you would most likely not recognize a member of the early church, or you might ask what many people ask us: “Are you Jews?” The answer, most likely, would go something like this: “Well, our people come from many different cultures, races, and religious backgrounds, but we cherish the traditions given to Israel (feasts, Sabbaths, etc.)”1 or, “We are the Commonwealth of New Israel!”2 or, “Our twelve tribes earnestly serve God day and night for the hope of the promises made to old Israel.”3

So, back to 1 Corinthians 5:6-8… The Apostle Paul told them to keep the feast, but he begins with a curious statement: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, therefore, purge out the old leaven…” There is an old Jewish tradition at this time of year to clean out all the dusty corners of the house, but there is more to this time than just spring cleaning. “Purge out the old leaven” actually refers to keeping corruption out — not of the physical house, but of the spiritual house: the “lump of dough.” In these metaphors of leaven and the lump, first spoken of by Messiah4 and then the Apostle Paul,5 the loaf represented the body of believers. According to Paul, they are supposed to be an unleavened loaf.

This gives us insight into the Feast of Unleavened Bread. All that the Law stipulates is to “remove the leaven from your houses” and to “eat unleavened bread for seven days.”6 But whenever leaven is mentioned in the New Testament, both by Messiah and by the Apostle Paul, it speaks of something spiritual rather than physical. Mark 8:14-16 tells a story:

Now the disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread.

He told them about how they didn’t need to be anxious about food, since the Father provided for them, but this leaven was something spiritual. Matthew 16:12 shows that he was referring to the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

So, what do the teachings of any group (such as the Pharisees) have to do with leaven as a metaphor? It has to do with their effect on the other part of the metaphor — the lump of dough. The lump of dough is a culture — a live culture that must be protected. If, once all the ingredients have been kneaded in, it starts to get puffed up, it is the work of leaven.

Leaven is a modifying influence that changes the whole mass. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”7 So that culture must be kept in an atmosphere that will prevent the growth of leaven. This is either the hot oven where it gets baked or, if it is not the time for baking, a very cold place. Lukewarm is the optimal temperature for the growth of leaven.

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelations 3:15-16)

When leaven is activated in the lump it expels a gas that is trapped within the dough, causing separation between the dough particles, revealing the lukewarm atmosphere. Likewise, in the first-century church, when their once fervent love for one another began to grow cold, they became susceptible to negative thoughts about each other that caused separation and alienation. Rather than speaking the truth in love to each other, they began sowing discord, resulting in divisions.

Today there are more than 45,000 denominations in Christianity, increasing at the rate of 2.4 new denominations per day.8 People avoid getting “too close for comfort,” not having the courage to be honest with one another about the sin in their lives. It all began with tolerating a little leaven, and now it has leavened the whole lump. The words of the Apostle Paul left no room for the possibility that a part of the loaf could remain unleavened, and neither does nature.

Perhaps it bothers you (as it bothered us) that what this world calls “the Church” bears no resemblance to the description of the church in Acts 2:42-44 and 4:32-35. One Christian historian wrote, “Between the years AD 100 and AD 500, the Christian Church changed almost beyond recognition.”9

What this Feast Means to Us

Let me tell you now about an amazing phenomenon that is emerging in these very days. It is a brand new culture. You see, each member of the Body of Messiah can also be considered a part of that “unleavened lump” (according to 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Each person is a grain of wheat with great potential to become part of the loaf, but three other ingredients are necessary. First of all, the wheat berries need to be crushed under the tribulum (where the word tribulation comes from), a heavily weighted sledge with sharp stones embedded in its underside that is dragged over the wheat to separate the wheat kernels from the chaff.

Then it must be threshed — tossed up in the air so that the wind blows away the chaff (the part that has no weight). Then it must be ground between the millstones and sifted and placed into a container. All these metaphors describe what happens in the true church — a place of testing, threshing, and being ground together into one container. But still, the flour cannot hold together as a loaf, but will only slip through the baker’s fingers. So next come the other ingredients…

Water — Ephesians 5:26 speaks of the water of the Word that comes from the Holy Spirit. There’s a difference between the logos, which is the written Word and the rhema, which is the living Word of the Holy Spirit, which produces obedience. The written word has been recorded in the Scriptures for thousands of years, yet there has not been an unleavened loaf on the earth since the first century. The living Word is required to maintain an unleavened loaf.

One indicator that the Word is living is what is says in 1 John 2:20, that the early church had one anointing that taught them all things. However, it is also true that leaven cannot be activated until moisture is added. In Christianity today you can find over 45,000 different ways to interpret the Scriptures (45,000 different denominations, each with its own “orthodoxy”). So the work of leaven which separates and divides is very evident, although it has an impressive external facade — it is “puffed up” like a fully leavened loaf. The only validating evidence that the living Word of the Holy Spirit is present is that it produces obedience and one unleavened lump.

The next ingredients is the oil (the anointing of the Apostles, 1 John 2:20, producing the “one heart and one way” of Acts 2:42-44 and 4:32). They all have the same teachings, even down to the traditions which were passed on by the Apostles.10 In “the Way of Yahweh” there is one heart and one way to do everything. As the old song goes, “This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth…” There was a way they wore their clothes, covered or refrained from covering their heads,11 and gathered for worship.12 They were even instructed not to associate with anyone who didn’t keep the traditions or was divisive, much less a “doctrinal disagreement.”13 Why such high and strict standards? They weren’t looking for mere outward compliance or uniformity (which impresses the world), but they were striving to preserve a live culture.

Yahshua said He would take the kingdom away from the Jews and give it to a nation bearing the fruit of it.14 A nation is distinct because of its culture, which distinguishes it. God’s holy, set-apart people had to be visibly distinguishable, primarily by John 13:34 and 17:23, but also the traditions (which one could easily dismiss or ignore) were real indicators of the inward reality of one heart and one way.15

Then finally there is the salt. Salt kills leaven. If someone has “salt within himself,”16 he will be wise and cautious. A people who are able to judge themselves in this way will bring savor to the earth. Salt is a preserving agent. His people, in preserving this brand new culture through prudence and self-judgment, will be “the salt of the earth.”17 Yet if salt loses its savor, it is worthless.18 Modern table salt, stripped of all its nutritive minerals, is reduced to poison. Today doctors prescribe a low-salt diet, in direct contradiction to Messiah’s words in Mark 9:50 — “Salt is good.” When someone has lost the characteristics of prudence and self-judgment, it is said that he has “lost his salt.”

Now, when all these ingredients are in the container (the common life of Acts 2:44 and 4:32) and are kneaded and handled by the Baker, something “magical” happens. It’s amazing when we go through the whole physical process to bake an unleavened loaf for our communion meal. When the flour, salt, water, and oil are first placed in the bowl, in correct proportion, it doesn’t seem as if it can absorb all that water and oil. But once mixed thoroughly (it takes time) it becomes one cohesive mass. What has happened is that the gluten, which was always in the wheat with the potential to be activated, has now been activated, and that is the “glue” that holds it all together.

But now that we have a true living culture, it has the potential to be corrupted by the leaven which has moisture to work in and corrupt the whole mass. People in the outside world don’t understand how we can say, “Don’t associate with fellow members of our community who don’t keep our traditions.” They don’t understand why we don’t let our children listen to the world’s music or read books that we’ve not written or approved, or send them to public school or college. Christians can’t understand because they are fully leavened. Leaven is a modifying influence. If another culture is able to influence ours, it would change and become like theirs (as the early church took on the holidays of the pagans — a historical fact — and now imitates the fashions, music, and cultures of the world). So we, in the restoration of the unleavened loaf, have to be watchful and purge any little bit of leaven.

People have told us, “You people are different. You really have something.” They can’t articulate it but they’re seeing a contrasting culture — in contrast to the world and its religions. This is a fulfillment of Malachi 3:18, “Then you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between those who claim to serve God and those who truly serve Him.” This must be a visible distinction.

Another thing people often tell us is, “Whatever happens, please don’t change.” If it happened in the first century, it could happen again to us. So we must keep this culture healthy and protect it from any modifying influence. “A little leaven will leaven [modify] the whole lump.” This could only be true of a people who are by nature, as 1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “truly unleavened.”

Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are a time to remember the One who made us clean, and then keep the leaven out!

Notes

  1. Colossians 2:16
  2. Ephesians 2:12
  3. Acts 26:7
  4. Luke 13:21
  5. 1 Corinthians 5:7
  6. Exodus 12:15
  7. 1 Corinthians 5:6
  8.  http://www.gordonconwell.edu/resources/documents/StatusOfGlobalMission.pdf
  9. Tony Lane, The Lion Book of Christian Thought (Lion Publishing Company, Batavia, Illinois, 1984), page 8.
  10. 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15
  11.  1 Corinthians 11:5-7
  12.  1 Corinthians 14:26
  13. 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10;  1 Corinthians 1:10
  14. Matthew 21:43
  15. Jeremiah 32:39; Acts 4:32
  16. Mark 9:50
  17. Matthew 5:13
  18. Luke 14:33-35

Love and Justice go Together

Newsletter 36

BlowingShofarDear Friends,

Love and justice go together in a surprising way. It is right there in the Law of God, but many, both Jews and Christians, don’t see it. One of those things “hidden in plain sight.”

First this post considers the “connection” between two seemingly unrelated things. They are homeschooling and Sabbath-keeping—part of the larger realm of Torah Keepers.

Indeed, the Sabbaths and feasts of Israel have fascinated modern people for several decades now. After millennia of having their own feasts — all largely coming from the pagan world of the ancients, especially the Romans — millions of Christians have now joined the Jews in observing the Torah, in honoring the Sabbath, and in keeping the feasts of Israel. They have learned as much as they can about these ancient Hebrew scriptures and feasts. Many take the time to even learn the ancient tongue of Hebrew itself. They are earnest people.

The connection between these movements is not that a lot of Sabbath keepers homeschool, although I suspect quite a few do. It has to do with how connected each movement is to the world around them. After keeping Pesach (Passover) or Sukkot (Feast of Booths) with others, usually at a park or farm, Torah Keepers go home. No doubt many would like to stay together, but the cares and worries, as the Bible says, of making a living, drive them home. And if they did decide to stay, they would quickly discover the costs and mandates of community!

Validating themselves in a very curious fashion, homeschoolers boast or at least make known the excellent colleges their children get into. “See,” they say, “you don’t have to send your children to school to be successful in this world—you can groom them for success right from your home.” It can strike an outside observer as inconsistent with the fundamental mistrust most homeschoolers have in regard to what the world has to offer their children.

So both movements have a culture they reside in, and in fact hope their children will succeed in. It is the same culture that gave them Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, compulsory education and state indoctrination (schooling) of children. They know something is wrong with that culture, but they have nothing to replace it with. They share in common the same set of hopes and dreams for their children that most everyone else has. . . all those parents who send their children to public school and who honor the “Sunday Sabbath.”

A personal note about homeschooling

Perhaps you have or are homeschooling your children now. My wife and I did. Now that our personal “nest” is empty, we have many fond memories of both parenting and teaching our children. Living in Community, we helped others teach their children, too. Together, we are in the first stages of a new, emerging culture. It is very exciting.

We have seen our faithful children marry within that culture, marry others of the people they are a part of. What could be more satisfying to a parent than to see their children carry on their faith after them? What could be more disappointing than to not see that happen? Such joys and sorrows we have known.

IMG_0519

The question now asked

Attending a homeschooling conference one time, I left with regret, After an inspiring presentation I didn’t ask the question that came to me, but it has come back to me many times since considering the many, many parents who homeschool.1

Why are parents avoiding the school system with all its problems only to send their children to the heart of the problems themselves — the colleges?

So I discovered that the homeschooling movement was less revolutionary than I had thought it was.2 Likewise, attending a week long Sukkot Festival in 2013 enlightened me to something very similar, that the parents and children attending it had the same goals as regular Christians, and even as regular Americans. There was no difference. Going to college and getting a good paying job was the highest aspiration most of the youth voiced for themselves, and most of the parents voiced for their children.

Passion without a Cause

Homeschooling is in this sense is a passion without a cause. Keeping children from the indoctrination and peer pressure of public schools, and then sending them off to college are completely contradictory actions. In the same way, Sabbath and Festival Keeping were signs to the world of who God’s people were every day, not once a week or once or twice a year. It would be inconceivable that God’s people would have lived in Moab, Edom, and Egypt and then come to Israel to celebrate the Feasts! The prophets would have risen up to condemn them. Where are the prophets today?

Can spiritual Israel, which Torah Keepers desire to be, exist in the spiritual wilderness of today’s culture? After keeping a festival all that remains – all that is possible – is return to the same lonely life each one had before it. What is the purpose of the Sabbath? What does it point to?

There is an indirect connection to homeschooling, in that true Sabbath-keeping is done by a people set-apart from the world to be God’s people. Homeschooling is, as it were, a temporary dedication of children to our children to God. Can what is “holy” than be made “common” and still keep its “holiness”?

The Sabbaths Point to the Year of Jubilee!

BlowingShofar“You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period
of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month — on the Day of Atonement — you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family.
(Leviticus 25:8-10)

Every seventh year in faithful Israel was to be a sabbath year, when the land would lay fallow, debts would be forgiven, and slaves would be released. Every seven sevens of years was even more special, demanding far more from the hearts of the Israelites than even the sabbath years. That monumental time in the life of Israel was the Year of Jubilee. We know very little how it (or even the sabbath years) would actually affect a people, because old  Israel always found some way around the righteous requirement of the law, but it is very  dear to our Father’s heart. There will be a people who keep this command and who do so  because they take on His heart.

The land in modern Israel can now be “sold” to someone else for the Sabbath year for a  token amount of money, and then bought back after the year is over. This allows them to still  benefit from the produce of the land without “breaking the Law” by farming it themselves. They get around the Law in that way, which is to say they get around trusting our Father in that way. Keeping the Law and trusting our Father is the same thing. There are two other things that go together, also.

Love and Justice Go Together

In Leviticus 25:10, God Most High commanded that the trumpet would be blown in all the land when the fiftieth year, the year of Jubilee, had come. The fiftieth year was to have been a time to restore the way our Father called Israel to live. God commanded that all land be restored to its original owners in Leviticus 25:10.

There is no such command anywhere in the world.

All the buying and selling of the previous forty-nine years was to be undone. At the Year of Jubilee, all the land was to return to the families Yahweh had given it to when Israel conquered their land. Doubly so was it the Promised Land — promised to Abraham in  Genesis 15:18, and promised again to the individual families when Joshua  divided the land. Israel never understood how close the two promises were in our Father’s heart.

No other religion of men has dared to address the hold that possessions and lands have on men’s souls. Indeed, they cannot, since all prosperous religions depend on the good will of rich and powerful men. They could only obey such a radical set of commands as Yahweh gives in Leviticus 25 if they actually believed in Him.

Our Father commanded that they forgive all debts from their brothers. All those born into slavery or sold into it must be freed (Leviticus 25:39-43). He proclaimed liberty to all in the moving words, “Each of you shall return to his family.” Above all else, the fiftieth year was a time to remember the One to whom the land belonged. This is why He said they could not sell the land permanently to anyone. The land must not be sold permanently, “because the land is Mine and you are but aliens and My tenants.” (Leviticus 25:23)

What a celebration that would be! This is the society the God of Israel intended, one where love and justice would rule every human relationship. There is no true justice unless it arises from real, heart-felt love. Love and justice go together like man and wife. Love is the motive; justice is the result.

At every Jubilee celebration, the whole people were to come together to celebrate the greatest accomplishment any nation had ever known: the triumph of love-based justice. They were to restore what the poor had lost to their more gifted or even more aggressive brothers. As Moses said in Leviticus 25:17, “Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God.

They only bought the land until the next Jubilee. Just think how rich would be the land that a true Israelite would give back to its original owner! That is, if he realized who the real and permanent owner of the land was — Yahweh Himself. Oh, if only they had such a heart! But they never kept this law because they did not truly fear their God.

Only a society of people determined to carry out these two commands — the greatest commands in all the law — would be able to obey Leviticus 25:

LoveOneAnother1Hear, O Israel: the Sovereign our God, the Sovereign is one. Love the Sovereign with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Any society determined to put these words into practice will have the help of Heaven and a life of faith to produce it. This help and this faith will produce a brand new culture.

Once long ago and almost forgotten…

Once, a long time ago, there was a band of Jews who lived this way. They followed the teachings of Yahshua. As a man’s spirit inhabits his body, so Love lived and expressed itself on the earth in Him. The fruit of His life was a completely new society. There were literally thousands of men, women, and children living together in peace. They had true peace, with no needy among them. Thus, they fulfilled Deuteronomy 15:4-8, that there were no poor and needy in the land.

His Spirit enabled them to love, and justice was the result. But what happened? That life waned. Love could not stay where He was no longer welcomed. He left those communities and walked on. For nearly two thousand years He longed for a new body of people to live in. The terrible words of Daniel the prophet came true, “Messiah was cut off and had nothing.” (Daniel 9:26)

And when the soil was ready

When the soil was readyNow, He must still have a people for His very own. It is what He has always longed for. We cannot belong to Him and Mammon at the same time; Leviticus 25 makes that perfectly clear. 3 There must be a nation expressing His character to the ends of the earth or the end cannot come.4 Once again, Love dwells in a body on the earth. He has found a new and lasting home; this is where we live.

Israel was to keep this body of law in Leviticus 25. If it had, it would have been a light to the world. Torah also means the body of prophetic instruction. Keeping it would have led them to fulfill their prophetic destiny as a people. And this has not changed; indeed, it cannot  change.

Only those who keep Sabbath years until the Year of Jubilee will prove to be the Israel of God. Then all the land goes back to its rightful owner—our Father.5 The trumpet of the Year of Jubilee is the last trumpet of this age, of which Paul prophesied:

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

In Closing

We invite you to come and be a part of the people to whom the mysteries are being unfolded. The glory of God, which is love, is the highest goal and aspiration of our life together. That is why we share all things in common, that is why we struggle to carve a culture, a new way of life, out of this fallen world. And that is why we open our homes to all those who long for these things, too.

Shalom,

Kevin (for the Communities of the Twelve Tribes)

 

Footnotes

  1. Indeed, there are large alternative education communities flourishing in many free countries of the world. Sadly, nations like Sweden and Germany are afraid to let their people be free, and prohibit education by the parents. They resemble nothing so much as materially prosperous totalitarian societies. Let us hope they are not the direction the world will take in the coming years!
  2. We are thankful for homeschooling, for sure, but we have a greater goal than college. We educate our children for the Kingdom of God!
  3. Matthew 6:24
  4. Matthew 24:14
  5. Revelation 11:15-18

“On the basis of untested theory”

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Newsletter 35

Dear Friends,

This is a look at was behind one of the greatest tragedies a parent can face: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is possible, but highly unlikely, that you have heard of what you are about to read. It concerns the advice of experts to lay your baby on their stomachs when putting them to sleep. Front, back, side, what difference does it make? Far, far more than you would think! Some seemingly newsworthy things simply don’t grab the attention of those who sell or make the news…whatever it is they do.

Perhaps you, like I do, know friends who have had a child die in infancy for no reason whatsoever. Such a tragedy used to be called simply “crib death.” For nearly four recent decades, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s, this very personal road to hellish suffering on the part of the parents was paved, as they say, with the best of intentions. It was the result of their receiving the professional advice of the world’s best known and most famous baby doctors, one above all. He taught his tens of millions of readers to lay their babies on their fronts, on their tummies.

Evidence available to the medical world as soon as 1970 indicated that this advice given parents — in massively popular baby and child care books — was unsound, untested, and actually lethal. It was in fact only someone’s good idea. How bad can a good idea be?

The greatest influence on parents in western countries over the last sixty years has been that of Dr. Benjamin Spock in his wildly popular, Baby and Child Care. Until the 1992 edition (pictured) he consistently told parents in his folksy, confident manner, to lay babies on their backs. He is the primary author responsible for 60,000 tragic deaths, from 1970 to the early 1990s, of infants in their cribs. And what of the years before then?

First we’ll turn to the report in the Sunday Times from May 8, 2005, and then to the International Journal of Epidemiology. The first gives the context, the second the science.


Dr. Spock’s advice blamed for cot deaths
1

The research team, led by Dr Ruth Gilbert of University College London, traced the erroneous advice back to popular health books of the 1940s and 1950s. One of the chief exponents of the untested theory was Dr Spock, the paediatrician, whose books became essential reading for mothers all over the world. Writing in the International Journal of Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press, the researchers note that Spock initially wavered over his advice.

Their study says: “The sudden shift in favour of front-sleeping is best illustrated by Baby and Child Care by Dr Benjamin Spock who recommended the back position in his 1955 edition, and the front position in 1956.”

“Many authors repeated these arguments. Others argued that front sleeping reduced wind, coughing due to mucus, and made respiration easier.


“Before Spock’s death in 1998, Baby and Child Care was translated into 39 languages and sold more than 50 million copies, said to be second in sales only to the Bible.”

Let’s turn now to the scientific article on which these statements were based.

ChildHealth

Source: International Journal of Epidemiology 2005;34:874–887.

“Infant sleeping position and the sudden infant death syndrome”
by Ruth Gilbert and her three coworkers in the International Journal of Epidemiology, 4 April 2005.

Quoting from the paper’s Background: “Before the early 1990s, parents were advised to place infants to sleep on their front contrary to evidence from clinical research.

Quoting from the Results:Sleeping on the front was  recommended in books between 1943 and 1988 based on extrapolation from untested theory.

Quoting from the paper’s Conclusions:Advice to put infants to sleep on the front for nearly a half century was contrary to evidence available from 1970 that this was likely to be harmful. Systematic review of preventable risk factors for SIDS from 1970 would have led to earlier recognition of the risks of sleeping on the front and might have prevented over 10,000 infant deaths in the UK and at least 50,000 in Europe, the USA, and Australasia.

A follow-up article

In a quote from a follow-up article to their ground breaking initial one, Dr. Ruth Gilbert and coworkers said in the same Journal,

We argue that had simple methods of reviewing and combining what was already known from research been used in 1970 60,000 deaths would have been avoided. This is an underestimate as we left out cot deaths classified as other causes before SIDS was widely used for death registration and deaths before 1970.2

So those 60,000 were the avoidable deaths, from 1970 to the early 1990s: let’s say 23 years. And that number is a low estimate. What of the deaths during the preceding 14 years, back to Dr. Spock’s first bit of homespun wisdom about how babies should sleep? Assuming the same gruesome rate of loss of life per year, that’s another 36,500 deaths in those areas of the world most open to professional advice about raising children. That’s 100,000 needless deaths owing principally to one’s man’s untested theories. That’s how bad a good idea can be.

So what thought process led him to write these fateful words?

In his 1958 edition, he argued ‘If he vomits, he’s more likely to choke on the vomitus. Also, he tends to keep his head turned to the same side—usually toward the centre of the room. This may flatten the side of his head.’ Many authors repeated these arguments.” (Gilbert, p. 876)

This made sense to so many parents as they wondered how to raise their children. Everything Doctor Spock said made sense, and he said it all in such a pleasant way. Surely, he tried to keep up with the latest scientific, medical, and psychoanalytic research. But in this instance he failed to do so. In this tragic instance, tens of thousands of babies lost their lives because of his advice. Remarkable you have never heard about this, isn’t it?

Whatever could be the reason why? Why must his reputation as the world’s foremost baby doctor be guarded? Shouldn’t it be junked?

From the Sunday Times article come words from someone who suffered personal loss due to listening to “babycare experts”:

AnneDiamond-Sebastian

Anne Diamond and her son, Sebastian, who died at age four months.

“Reflecting in 1993 on the Back to Sleep campaign, Diamond wrote: “When Sebastian was born, I did the same as all mothers in this country and laid him on his tummy . . . it’s what all babycare experts were telling us to do. The government was slow on cot death.”

“She then urged the government to advise mothers to put their babies to sleep on their backs and spearheaded efforts to hammer the message home.”

 

What other untested and unproven things did Dr. Spock say?

What else did Dr. Spock say that was his own personal theory? Untested, untried, unsupported by anything except his own thought? How many other things did he advocate that were, in their own ways, catastrophically destructive?

One towers above all others, the thing he wished was not associated with his name, but was and forever will be: permissiveness. More damaging to families than simple permissiveness, however, was what was behind his permissiveness: his steadfast opposition to the discipline of children. About this he was utterly confident, with all his Freudian training, that he was right. Towards the end of his life, in his eighties, he came out and said it:

DrSpockOnParenting_Cover“In earlier decades — and in earlier editions of Baby and Child Care — I avoided a flat statement of disapproval of physical punishment. I contented myself with the statement that I didn’t think it was necessary. This was because of my belief that it’s disturbing to parents when a professional person appears to imply that he knows better than they… It’s not that physical punishment creates these alarming conditions by itself [nuclear arms race, aggressive foreign policy, and violence within the family], but it certainly plays a role in our acceptance of violence. If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.” ~ Benjamin Spock, Dr. Spock on Parenting: Sensible Advice from America’s Most Trusted Child-care Expert (Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 172.

{See the post, “A Glimpse of the Future” for much more on this. There you will see what the fruit has been in the nations that have followed this advice from Dr. Spock. Banning spanking in Sweden has not led to a kindlier society and a safer world. It has led to something quite different than that—it has led to all hell breaking loose.}

Finally, then, he pushed past his own internal boundary of not disturbing parents, to say what he really wanted to say all along. And as far as undermining parental authority and confidence, he had long since admitted that he and other professionals had done so decades before.

The Rest of the Story

In 1967 he admitted that:

It’s professional people — like me — who have gotten the parents afraid of their children’s hostility, and I don’t know if we can undo it. Pandora’s Box has been opened.”3

Seven years later, addressing the generation of brats he saw growing up in America, he had this to say about the “cruel” influence of professionals like him:

In the 20th century, parents have been persuaded that the only people who know for sure how children should be managed are the child psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, social workers and pediatricians — like myself. This is a cruel deprivation that we professionals have imposed on mothers and fathers. Of course, we did it with the best of intentions, by giving talks and writing articles on child rearing with the idea that these would be helpful. We didn’t realize, until it was too late, how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self-assurance of parents.”4

And what were the real results of this subtle but actual and effective undermining of parental confidence? The children gained the upper hand as the parents abdicated their authority. Father really didn’t know best, as the television show proclaimed.

HowNotToBringUpABrattyChild

Redbook Magazine, February 1974, p. 29 (partial view).

The commonest reason, I think, why parents can’t be firm is that they’re afraid that if they insist, their children will resent them or at least won’t love them as much. You can see this clearly in an extreme case in which a bratty child can get what she or he wants by shouting, “I hate you!” The parent looks dismayed and gives in promptly.”5

{The above quotes are from the article, “Benjamin Spock and Pandora’s Box,” which is surely what he opened!}

So this is a little more “of the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say, about what is going on in this modern world.

Such are the catastrophic consequences on one man’s opinion about sleeping babies! But even worse are the opinions of many about child discipline, including that one misguided baby doctor. To discipline your child is to save his soul from hell, as Proverbs 23:13-14 says. But those opposed to discipline also do not believe in judgment and the hell that awaits those who love to do evil.

Turning children from evil is why parents have for millennia disciplined their children. They did so because they loved them, just as Proverbs 13:24 says. This is tested and proven true by countless generations of men and women the world over. What is taking its place is failing the test, as Sweden and other countries vividly show.

For the Communities of the Twelve Tribes,

Kevin Carlin

 

 

 Footnotes:

  1. To get the complete text, go to this link: http://www.pedsource.com/node/7226.
  2. Ruth Gilbert, Georgia Salanti, “Infant sleeping position and sudden infant death syndrome: a systematic review,” International Journal of Epidemiology, 5 August 2005.
  3. The Evening News, Newburgh, NY, Oct. 31, 1967, p. 6A.
  4. Benjamin Spock, How Not to Bring up a Bratty Child (Redbook Magazine, February 1974), p. 29, 31.
  5. Spock, Redbook, February 1974.

Home is where the heart is

Newsletter 34

Dear Friends,

This season is a time of joy for many, a time of sorrow for some, and a time to reflect on the passing of another year. The simple saying, “Home is where the heart is” has become a cliché, and bittersweet for those whose home life growing up was marred by family breakups or worse. But still it evokes for many of us memories of when life made sense, or the hope that maybe our lives can yet make sense for others.

For us as a people, these months are just part of winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern. The ancient Roman holidays and traditions adapted by Christianity, Christmas and New Years with its resolutions, do not hold sway over our hearts. We have realized that Israel did – and does have – traditions, holidays, and customs. The ancient abandonment of them pained some Christians then, so long ago, before their very memory was forgotten. It is always in the time of transition that the contrast between two worlds, two paradigms, is most clearly revealed.

One of those early church fathers, Tertullian, had this to say about the changing church in A.D. 197.

To we Christians nowadays, the Sabbaths are strange, and  the new moons and festivals are just a memory of what was  formerly beloved by God. But alas, we frequent the  Saturnalia and New-Year’s and Midwinter’s festivals and  Matronalia. Presents come and go — New-Year’s gifts —  games join their noise — banquets join their din! We do  everything that the nations do. Alas, they are more faithful  to their own sect than we to ours. They would not have  participated in the Lord’s day, nor Pentecost, even if they  were invited, for they would be afraid of appearing to be  Christians. But we are not the least bit worried about  appearing to be heathens!1

So we have the unusual experience in our businesses and delis of being open on the world’s holidays and closed on the high festivals of Israel. It is both our customer’s and our own experience of an emerging, new culture, as we travel what is really “uncharted wilderness”—groping to hear from our Father, through one another, just what is the spiritual significance of these splendid festivals of Israel.

From the Communities in Germany

We give honor to beleaguered brothers first, along with their wives and youth. Here they are setting up their sukkah (individual ones) to celebrate Sukkot—the Feast of Booths.

KLZ-Sukkot01 KLZ-Sukkot02 KLZ-Sukkot03After the days of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and a celebration on the eve of Sukkot, we gathered in the morning to hear from our Father. There was excitement in the air, espe-
cially after seeing the beautiful fire pit and place that the young men had prepared for our festival. Tamiym read Lev 23:42 –

You shall dwell in booths for seven days. ALL who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am YHWH your God.

Our Father took us out of Egypt and now is taking Egypt out of us. Tamiym said that he was past the age of looking for adventure in camping outside, he just wanted to be obedient.

Disciples began to share how our Father’s commands and our obedience get us out of the boxes we have ourselves in. Even if it rains, it is the perfect weather. All the material things we think we have, Sukkot reminds us that we don’t have them but only what we build between each other. When we are out of our comfortable and secure structures, all
we have is our Father’s kindness as we experience it from one another. And then you believe in God!

If we don’t trust in our own strength, but trust our Father by trusting one another, it is healing to our bones. This year ALL the disciples made sukkot, and the more skilled, of course, at building with such simple materials, helped those more befuddled by the process. Then we all enjoyed the fellowship of our obedience to His word around our camp fire.

From the Communities in Australia

The eighth day of the feast, Shemini Atzeret, is a festive, joyful day for us with our families. On it we remember that eternal life awaits all His faithful ones.

Asher-Sukkot01Finally, the last great day of the feast arrived, and together as a tribe we gathered at our beautiful Peppercorn Creek Farm. It was an amazing day, full of vision and teaching, activities, food, skits and an obstacle course. Many guests came to enter into our joy with us in this celebration of the eternity that is to come for all who overcame, both the Holy and the nations. We were thankful to express something of our Father’s heart to all who were with us.

Lastly, from the Communities in France

Reuben01 Reuben02 Reuben03Rain was pouring down the very first day of building our sukkot, but we kept our smiles and
encouragement. We don’t do it for fun anyway, but to please our Abba. Plastic covers were a must, and our new abodes ended up being very comfortable, sometimes sealed with haystacks, carpets on the floor, hammocks, bunk beds made out of bamboos and linen… No way to complain or grump. Moreover, the weather stayed warm and dry afterwards.

We heard that our goal is to fully reach Acts 2:44, the condition of the first Edah when it
first started, point zero. The pure faith they had received caused them to be together with one heart and one mind, being of one accord, sharing everything in common. Alas, they crashed at the end of the first century and became something unrecognizable nowadays.

We are one of the last generations and cannot afford to camp, but must keep on climbing up to their undefiled level, that is point zero, to start with. We are called to overcome all hindrances to be qualified for the race2 and bring an end to this evil age. The world would become damaged beyond hope with all kinds of perversions under the sun, if it weren’t for the awesome mercy of our God who has been and is always mindful of man.

We hope you have enjoyed this small glimpse of Sukkot in our tribes, in our people’s own words. Please come and visit any time.

Sincerely,
Kevin Carlin, for the Communities of the Twelve Tribes

 

 

  1. Tertullian, Of Blasphemy, ANF03, Ch. XIV in Apology.
  2. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us race with endurance the race set before us,” Hebrew 12:1

For a Long Time I Wandered

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Newsletter 33

Dear Friends,

The festive days of Sukkot have passed. We will write soon about the Feast of Booths, as many are interested in the feasts of Israel. Today, though, we have the tale of a young man looking for meaning and purpose in life and finding it nowhere, took to the Appalachian Trail.

Between jobs, he took to the trail three separate times until he’d achieved his dream of hiking the entire trail. In the end he was emptier than ever. His chance encounter with the Twelve Tribes at the Hiker’s Hostel in Rutland led him to notice a California farm that hosted WWOOF’ers, the Morning Star Ranch.

From one side of the country to the other, he came to the Ranch and found what he was looking for. Please connect to this link and read his story. I know you will find it fascinating.

For a Long Time I Wandered

ForALongTimeFive dollars an hour, cash under the table, my first real job. I was a pin monkey in a very old, small-town bowling alley. Sixteen years old, spending all of my evenings after high school crawling around the row of ancient, pieced-together machinery that would clear the pins for the people rolling the balls down the alley. Frequently, from my behind-the-scenes perch, I would watch on in disgust at the shallow social interactions that would faithfully occur every night.
Returning to school the next morning, after being up late mopping and cleaning at the bowling alley, I would see the same people from the night before. Their luxury SUVs and sports cars would fill the student parking lot. Knowing that their display of wealth and style came from their parents’ pocketbook filled me with malice. I hated most of the other youth I went to school with.

Filled with contempt towards the majority of the 1500 students attending school around me, I channeled my frustration into the only things I knew: my schoolwork and the bowling alley. The malice and hatred that found a safe harbor in my heart caused me to become very quiet and socially isolated. As the months of this isolated existence drifted by, I began saving all I earned in hopes of striking out on my own to find something greater.

Where could I go? What could I do? I didn’t care. I just wanted to get away from where I was. This desire driving me, I pulled out a road atlas and began pouring over and researching far-away destinations that were nowhere in sight of the small Texas town I lived in or the school full of selfish children. Toronto, Niagara Falls, Boston, Acadia National Park… all were thousands of miles away — perfect!

SceneryStaring intently at the highways, towns, and coastlines of Maine that surrounded Acadia National Park, images of the distant land filling my mind, I noticed something: a very faint, windy, narrow, red-dotted line that coiled its way through the remote woods of western Maine. My face pulled close to the page, squinting to make out the words, “Appalachian Trail.” What is that?

Curious, I did a search on the Internet. A remote, narrow footpath stretching 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine through the Appalachian Mountains. I read on and on, seeking out books, articles, and maps of my newly discovered distraction. This was it! This was where I would disappear to escape my reality.

ATMap3The goal was to hike the last 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail through Maine. With the help of my father, I purchased some backpacking gear. Soon after school let out for summer break, after my junior year of high school, I loaded up my car and set out for Maine, not to return for three months.

AppalachianTrailI parked my car at a small local airport and took a taxi to the remote New England trail head outside of Gorham, NH. All of seventeen years old, I stood alone with my pack, 3000 miles from home, as the taxi drove away. It was July 1, 2002. I strained to don my 90-pound pack, then turned and climbed slowly into the remote wilderness of the Mahoosic range of northern New Hampshire.

The next 40 days set me on a course that would change my life forever. Over those 40 days I experienced dozens of mountaintop panoramas, encountered swarms of black flies and mosquitoes, wild moose, and met many of very nice, sincere hikers who were each on their own journey. On August 9, 2002, I reached the summit of Mt. Katahdin in northern Maine — the end of my hike and the end of the Appalachian Trail. Renewed in my vision for life, creation, people, and the future, I hitchhiked south to my car and began the long drive home to Texas.

Upon returning, my vision was drowned in a sea of familiar feelings, faces, and problems. The selfishness, greed, hypocrisy, and pointlessness around me was all the more obvious now, having just returned from my three-month adventure. “I can’t take it! I can’t stand it here! I want out!” Now I knew where I could run to: the Appalachian Mountains.

Completely sickened with the selfish desires and motives of the people around me (this time my co-workers at a local grocery store), I became obsessed with one thing: hiking the trail. Saving every penny, working overtime, living on next to nothing, I was determined to escape back to the place that had brought me so much vision and hope. For a year and a half, I frequently rode my bicycle everywhere — to work, to the bank, to the grocery store, to school — refusing to drive my car. I would do anything to save money, even living in a small travel trailer for a time. Every cent possible went towards escaping and hiking the entire 2175-mile Appalachian Trail.

Finally, on February 23, 2005, after quitting my job, selling all I had, and leaving town, I once again found myself at a remote trail head, about to embark on yet another adventure. I donned my pack and climbed steadily into the hills along the nine-mile approach trail towards Springer Mountain, Georgia, and the start of the Appalachian Trail.

Over the next few months I made my way north through the mountains, until after 1425 miles I received an injury to my feet and was forced to quit short of my goal. Completely crushed, broken, and defeated, I returned and began to assimilate back into normal society.

Reality covered me like a ton of sand. I couldn’t breathe. Rent, college, insurance, a cell phone, a career — all these things forced themselves on me, as all were requirements of success in the world. Two jobs, 65 hours a week, and a full-time student load, I did all I could to fulfill the world’s requirements and forget about my failed hike. But I couldn’t push out or wash out the understanding of the selfishness around me that had driven me to strike out on that initial journey across Maine.

Over time, I met the requirements and became successful in the world’s eyes. I obtained an education, financial security, and possessions, but was glaringly unsatisfied. More than ever, I realized for myself what was filling the sails of the kingdom of this world: selfishness. I wanted nothing to do with it. It didn’t fill me or satisfy me. I hated money, cars, TV, sports —everything around me that was filled with self. Three-month or six-month jaunts into the woods to hike or do trail work were not enough. I didn’t want to return. “Why can’t I just live on the road, in the woods, or on the trail? Is it possible? It has to be! I can’t live here. I can’t work another day. I quit!!!”

Giving away all of my possessions and selling my car, I hitchhiked east from Colorado towards New England. After some months of hitchhiking and doing trail work, an idea came to me. It was now July 2008. This was the time to finally finish the goal I had set six years earlier. Having hiked 300 miles of the trail in 2002, and 1400 in 2005, this left only 450 miles. “It’s possible,” I say to myself.

So, for the third and last time, I found myself at a remote trail head, this time in New York, embarking on a long hike through the woods. Full of vision and strength, I set out, determined to finally finish. Months of arduous back-country trail work had left me in top hiking shape. 166 miles in the first six days. It won’t be long now.

Mockingly passing out-of-shape day and weekend hikers, I flew up and down the mountain trails. Starting at sunrise and going till sunset, I followed the small white blazes on the rocks and trees that mark the narrow, 2000-mile footpath. Then, one morning in Vermont, I woke up and crawled out of my tent only to awaken to agonizing, sharp, needle-like pain in my feet — the same pain I had felt three years prior that had caused me to quit. Mortified, I sat and stared off into space.

“What now? What do I do? I’m so close — only 200 miles to go. Maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe I can rest and my feet will recover. I can’t quit. I can’t go back. Go back to what?” In a panic, I pull out my maps and guidebook and search for the nearest hostel, and how to get there. “Rutland, Vermont, a Twelve Tribes hostel. That’s where I’ll go.”

Hearing that it was run by some kind of religious people, I planned to lay low so as not to provoke any conversation. After three days with rested feet, I returned to the trail, remembering nothing but the kindness, care, and compassion shown me by the peculiar people that worked there.

A few weeks later I reached the end, finishing my hike on top of Mt. Washington. I was victorious. A flood of emotions and excitement came over me as I neared the summit, not knowing whether to cry, scream, or jump up and down. I did all three. Bounding over the desolate rocky boulders that made up the moon-like terrain, I neared the summit.

I was there. The simple, weathered wooden sign in front of me spelled out the words, “Mt. Washington, elevation 6288 feet,” but said nothing of the struggle I had been through to get there. 60-mph winds, freezing rain, and ExhaustedHikerdense clouds railroaded past me as I gripped the wooden signpost.

Cold, hungry, broke, soaked to the bone, and nearly hypothermic, I stood alone on the summit and wept with no one around to notice or ask why. Begging some tourists to take my photo, I posed alone in front of the sign, with a weary smile. It was the biggest accomplishment of my life, and no one was there to share in it with me. I was completely alone. This was the beginning of the end.

Hitchhiking down the auto road that tourists take up the mountain, I spent the night in a local hostel, alone, eating a sub from a local gas station as a victory dinner. I was only a few miles from where my journey had begun six years earlier. It was October 1, 2008. Without purpose or motivation, and having only six dollars to my name, I hitchhiked west to Colorado to recover and recuperate from my successful failure.

Three months of normal living in Colorado was all I could stomach. “I’m done. No reason to live. No purpose. No home. Not the trail, not the world, not the road. I have no place to belong.” The faults in the society around me that drove me to the woods were now showing themselves clearly in me, as I had taken advantage of many of my friends and family so as to have a way to continue running.

Standing on top of that stormy mountain in New Hampshire, I had finally realized that the places I had run to or turned to did not fill the void or make me happy. Instead, they only left me alone and bitter, trapped, broken, and weary. If I wanted to be able to put down roots, it would have to be in a place where self did not rule, neither in me nor in the people around me.

Crushed, I embarked on my final journey. I was nearly suicidal, fleeing from northern Colorado in the middle of winter, hitching to anywhere, nowhere, with $24 to my name. My strength ran out, along with the sense of adventure one gets from hitching and traveling the country. Now this was simply my life, wandering the highways of the country.

On my wrist I got a tattoo, “Not all who wander are lost,” but I was as lost as a coin in the deepest ocean. Destitute, living out of dumpsters, and on the side of the Colorado River in Arizona, I actually feared for my life at night as I heard other people in the same situation as me wandering about in the bushes around me. This fear gripped me more now than coming face to face with black bears on the trail ever did.

Then, unexpectedly, a glimmer of hope: An old friend contacted me and suggested that I volunteer on an organic farm. “WWOOFing,” he called it. Wandering into a library, I scrolled down the massive list of organic farms on the west coast. Suddenly one caught my eye: the Morning Star Ranch, Twelve Tribes. “Wow, these are the people who ran that hostel I stayed at in Vermont! They were so kind to me. That’s where I’ll go.”

Hitchhiking my way there, I saw a young woman begging for money at a gas station. I walked over and gave her the $20 someone had just given me. Why is it that situations to love like this are so few and far between? Or was it just that I was too selfish to notice them?

Upon arriving at the Ranch on February 13, 2009, I was treated as a welcome guest, not as the homeless stranger that I was. I became the recipient of numerous unmerited acts of kindness and love. It caused me to believe in the One who is love, who had been drawing me all those lonely miles on the trail to this place.

Finally, a place where selfishness didn’t rule. Love ruled. People here had a way to overcome — a Savior. They told me about Him. His name is Yahshua. “I want to love. I need a Savior to be able to overcome.”

This was the destination I had traveled and searched so long for. How could I ever leave this place where people love me, and where I can be set free to love them back, all the days of my life? I’m thankful to have a place to belong and finally call home.

~ Skillet (ME ’02, GA-NY ’05, NY-NH ’08)

My friends now call me…

Natan

For the Communities of the Twelve Tribes,
Kevin Carlin

The Strength to Cross into Eternity

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Twelve Tribes Newsletter #32

Dear Friends,
The Ten Days of Awe – of Yom Kippur – continue on for us in all of our communities. They are especially poignant in Klosterzimmern and Wörnitz, our two German communities. There we are learning deep in our hearts, that all things do indeed work together for the good of all those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.1 And like them, all of us are learning to recognize the hidden motives at work in our souls that do not fully honor and acknowledge God’s absolute sovereignty in our lives.

We are considering our ways, especially how the thoughts that come to us — from wherever they come from — interact and affect what is already in us. The collection of “things” already inside us an ancient writer called our matrix.2 So it is time to face those most ancient questions, “Why has your countenance fallen? Why are you fearful? Why do you not trust My hand in your life?”3

Discerning and disclosing these motives forms a major part of our twice daily gatherings during these ten days. However, if you were to visit us, you would find that everyday we gather twice a day to praise Him, sing, dance, and share our hearts.4 These times each day are the heartbeat of our life.5 They make possible the life we share, for there we hear from the God of Heaven through His chosen means: the humble hearts of those covenanted to Him.

 

Honoring a Valiant Warrior

And in this Newsletter we would also like to tell you of the kinds of relationships we strive to form in the Body of Messiah. What effect does stress and pressure have on them? Read on and see. Certainly, we have had plenty of both in the last year! The story we tell is of one young man, just a small but significant part of his story. His parents are German, and he grew up much of his life in Germany, but he was born in America. Recently he spent some time with us where our communities began – Chattanooga, Tennessee.
For the last few months, the clan of Chattanooga had the honor to serve shoulder to shoulder with Chayim, the son of Boaz and Shua Markeli. Like a well trained son, he served us relentlessly. Day and night he was always ready to serve. There was no job too small or great — from making our Yellow Deli cornbread to helping repair vehicles. From making smoothies by night to lawn care during the day, he was willing and eager to give all that he could.

The days seemed to fly by and before we knew it, the time was upon us to send our faithful friend back to his tribe of Levi in Germany. Seizing the opportunity to give honor where honor is due, a celebration was called for this noteworthy son.

ChayimbenBoas

Chayim Markeli

The children prepared a song, a throne was made, a delicious meal was prepared, a beautiful banner was painted, and best of all, hearts of love overflowed.

The theme of our evening was honoring a valiant warrior. Like a wounded soldier returning from battle, Chayim stood among us faithful and true. Though he was afflicted he remembered the purpose for which he was born.

His life was compared to an untold hero returning from the battlegrounds to tell his story. Although marked with battle scars, pain, and even at times a bit disoriented; still his heart filled with gratitude to fight and stand for a worthy cause. Much appreciation was bestowed upon him for his courage to stand. It was made clear to all that his stand was only possible because of the good things put in to him by his wonderful parents.

TselAtDeiningen

Tsel Shaddai Markeli

Tsel, his older sister, spoke in tears about the day of the raid. For weeks no one heard anything about the children. All we could do was cry out. Finally, after six long weeks, small communications began. Tsel spoke of her deep gratitude and love for her brother that he endured through this time and longed for a way of escape. It was very special for the Tribe of Benyamin (southern United States) to have both Tsel and Chayim together for a time.

It was no coincidence that Chayim came to Chattanooga at this time in his life. He came right to the place where it all began. At this time in Chattanooga there is a small band of nucleus who lived in the original Vine House. They have stood the test of time, knowing the purpose for which they were called. These are those who bear the marks of the loss and pain of the battle, but still remain loyal.

The greatest time of testing is yet to come. But, day-by-day we are closer to our goal. And like the words that rang out long ago from the heart of one of those loyal ones in the first Vine House:

“We have come to join an army,

One that has been marching forth for years.

But, we know the one we march for and we have grown to love His cause.”*

Chayim stood to his feet that night, tears streaked his face as he responded in love. He looked around the room, his eyes fixed upon our faces, as he peered into our eyes. Filled with gratitude he gave thanks for the opportunity to come to the place where this life first began. He thanked us for our love, encouragement and gentleness towards him. A bond had formed that has the strength to cross into eternity.
Chayim, we love you. Thank you for standing with all of us. Keep on standing…

Not long later

There is a postscript to this moving story. Thrust back into the pressure cooker of life in our Communities in Germany, Chayim had a wonderful opportunity to speak up on behalf of his parents, our life, and his friends. It was at a town meeting on September 4, 2014:

Chayim ben Boas (ben = son of) was really able to show them that it was not that the children in Klosterzimmern had no hope in the future. He was taken the day of the Raid, 5 September 2013 — three months before he turned 18. He was put in a home for youth who are hard to handle.

His social grace, his diligence, respectfulness and trustworthiness stood out to all the instructors there and to the other young people confined there.6

They rolled out the red carpet for him to have every opportunity to get set up with an apprenticeship and support from the government because of the way he was raised. But he chose to continue to further the life that his parents had entered into some 30 years ago. He told them that the only reason why they gave him all those opportunities was because of the way he was raised, because there were many other youth in that home who didn’t have the same opportunity since they lacked an upbringing.

Like Chayim, we are thankful for the struggles we go through. Indeed, they are essential to enter the Kingdom of God!7 And like him, we press on. He is a hero to us, as are all our brothers and sisters there.

As they said in in the September 4, 2014 town meeting:

To close the evening we again sang the song, “In The Golden Fall,” but this time first telling them why we wanted to sing it to them – that we wanted to communicate that we were going to receive from our Father whatever He had for us and that we believe in Him and that’s why we are still here and we are not divided and not devouring one another. If He prunes or if He takes away, still from our heart comes a song – a song of joy and not of pain, a song of victory and gain, a song of peace.

This faith is what will cross over into eternity.

For the Communities of the Twelve Tribes,

Kevin Carlin

 

* Listen to the entire song, “I have come to join an army.”

  1. Just as Paul taught in Romans 8:28
  2. Paul the Apostle in Philippians 3:19 put it this way (where matrix is the word translated as belly),Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
  3. See God’s conversation with Cain in Genesis chapter 4.
  4. This is the fulfilment of the type the priest of old kept in 1 Chronicles 23:30.
  5. For more on this, read page 25 of the amazing pamphlet, “The Radical Life of Acts 2:44.”
  6. See Newsletter 24, “Behavior Unworthy of Human Beings
  7. Acts 14:22 says this very clearly: (Paul was) “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

Yom Kippur 2014

Twelve Tribes Newsletter #31

Yom Kippur 2014

Dear Friends,

Each year we consider deeply the relationship between the leaven that destroyed the early church, as Paul warned the Corinthians in his first letter to them, and the iniquities that would cause us to bow down to idols. Thus these festivals combine the wisdom of both the Old Covenant, which gives us the timing and tantalizing clues as to their meaning, and the New Covenant, whose light shines down into our hearts.

This year the first of the ten days spoken of in Leviticus 23, Yom Teruah, the Day of Shouting or trumpets, begins sundown on September 25, and Yom Kippur itself, the Day of Atonement, begins October 5 at sundown. Five days later, the seven day festival of Sukkot, or Tabernacles begins, October 10-16, followed by Shimini Atzeret, the eighth day of the festival…which points us to eternity, when the seven “days” of fallen humanity are complete and the eternal eighth day dawns.

This radically affects the schedules of some of our Delis (please check yours), especially, whose worker/owners need this time to reflect, recharge, and restore, both themselves and their delis.

Yom Kippur and Sukkoth

* We will close Thursday, September 25th at 3pm and reopen Monday, October 6th at 11am.

* We will close Thursday, October 9th at 3pm and reopen Sunday, October 12th at noon.

* We will close Thursday, October 16th at 3pm and reopen Sunday, October 19th at noon.

Please note these days, which will also be posted on our web site: www.yellowdeli.com

We appreciate your continued patronage and understanding for the importance of the life we share outside of the Yellow Deli. As always, you are welcome to come to our homes and get to know us. You can find our contact info at: www.place2belong.org

We love you and look forward to serving you again!

Your friends at the Yellow Deli

For the Communities of the Twelve Tribes,

Kevin Carlin

Postscript

For a brief video presentation of another festival that is very festive for us in our Communities, see the Tribe of Ruben’s video, “A Beautiful Life Together” about Shavuot (Pentecost) from the year 2012.

Also, for a follow-up report, one year on, of the seizure of our children in Germany, please read the posts, “There has Never been a Case like This in Germany so Far,” and “Their Children Shall be as Formerly.”

Forty-one children were taken by police force on 5 September 2013 from the Communities in Germany.

Seven guest children were returned that day, a three-year-old child, and Argentinian national, was returned to his parents nine days later.

Over the next few months, partially in response to many runaway-from-foster-care incidents, the judges set nine more children free, six youth as well as three infants.

Finally, two girls have run away, one repeatedly, but exist now in legal limbo, as the judge has not canceled her order.

Sadly, two sets of parents with six children between them have recanted their beliefs to regain their children, one successfully and so far, one not.

For the sixteen children still in captivity, and for the clearing of the two run-homes, our hearts yearn and our prayers ascend.

Published as Newsletter 31 on September 23, 2014

A Glimpse of the Future

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Dear Friends,

In the very first newsletter (February 7, 2012), we wrote that we would “keep an eye on the future as well — where the world is headed and why.” Recently, David Eberhard published a book entitled, “How Children Took Power.” One British newspaper wondered whether their parents have “given birth to a generation of monsters.” The country they did so in was Sweden. Eberhard’s book reports the progress of a ban on spanking to a ban on correction, which is a most natural development. So the future some hope for the whole world gives us its clearest glimpse in Sweden.

The Example of Sweden

Beginning in 1928 with the abolition of physical discipline in secondary schools, the Swedish government prepared its people, step by step, for its eventual universal ban on discipline. A fourteen-year-long advertising campaign against corporal punishment preceded the actual ban in 1979. Following this was the most extensive pamphlet distribution in Swedish history to persuade parents there were better means of raising children. Immigrants received pamphlets in their own languages. No one was overlooked. Since then Sweden has restricted violent media, inaugurated anti-bullying campaigns, and banned war toys.Dr.Spock

Today’s Sweden is then eighty-five years in the making. In 1988, the famous American baby doctor, Benjamin Spock, wrote of his hopes of a kinder, more peaceful society in the days to come. Obviously, no better living example of his hopes can be found than Sweden:

“It’s not that physical punishment creates these alarming conditions by itself [nuclear arms race, aggressive foreign policy, and violence within the family], but it certainly plays a role in our acceptance of violence. If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.”1

Sweden is the example the UN and many others cite. They sincerely hope Sweden is leading the way for every country on the planet. But shouldn’t the question be asked, “Has banning discipline of children by parents done what Dr. Spock hoped?”

If so, we should see a substantial, even a radical decrease in violence of every kind. The kindlier society and safer world should be in full bloom there, a veritable microcosm of things to come. A microcosm it is! But not the hoped for one.

The Statistics

Sweden is a country that keeps excellent statistics, even going way back. Let’s take a look at a few. This graph is from a report by Professor Hanns von Hofer of the Department of Criminology of Stockholm University in the publication, “Notes on Crime and Punishment in Sweden and Scandinavia.”

Sweden: Number of registered offences against the Criminal Code, 1866-1999.

NumberOffenses_Sweden(Vertical lines at 1928 and 1979 added.)

Crimes per 100,000 is an objective figure, allowing comparisons among countries of different size. Nor are the figures estimated after 1950, when in-depth statistics began to be available in Sweden. See “Reported+_offenses_1950-2012.xls” available at http://www.bra.se/bra/bra-in-english/home/crime-and-statistics/crime-statistics/statistical-tables.html (click on “Reported offenses, 1950-2012”). There are many statistics for those years; both total crime rates and individual crime rates. The next graph give the total crime from 1950 to 2012.

Sweden_CrimesPer100000(Horizontal line at 11,000 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants added.)

As is plain from the above graphs, 1979 is just another year in the tremendously increasing crime rate of Sweden. Certain crimes begin very significant rises then, however, as the final blow against parental authority had great consequences. (See note on the article “Cultural Spillover” at the end of the Newsletter). But take special note of the horizontal line at 11,000 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.

For the last thirty-three years Sweden has had 11,000 to 15,000 crimes per 100,000. By such objective measures, Sweden is the most criminal society in world history. But it does not have that reputation whatsoever. Now why is that? This is a very important question, because Sweden’s campaign against spanking – so well thought out and so elaborately implemented – is held up the United Nations and many individual campaigners against spanking as the model. Should it be?

Look at these UN figures for the year 2002:

Country

Crime Rate per 100,000

Ranking

Sweden

13,835

1

United Kingdom

10,996

2

New Zealand

10,820

3

Finland

10,003

4

Belgium

9,422

5

Denmark

9,134

6

Netherlands

8,811

7

Canada

8,025

8

Germany

7,889

9

Norway

7,273

10

Austria

6,835

11

France

6,103

12

South Africa

5,894

13

Switzerland

4,223

14

Hungary

4,142

15

United States

4,129

16

Uruquay

4,027

17

Italy

3,904

18

Chile

3,755

19

{Source: Nation-Master, crimes per 1,000. Therefore, its figures have to be multiplied by 100 to get the above. This does not include Iceland, which included traffic violations in their total, or some smaller nations. Including all countries would push the United States down to 22nd on this list! Sweden would remain at the top.)

Now, isn’t that amazing? Sweden at #1 and the United States at #16! (Or #22) Why the vastly different reputations? Most sets of statistics give total crime, instead of the crime rate, which makes no sense. Of course the United States, at thirty times the population of Sweden, is going to have more crimes committed in total than Sweden. The rates per 100,000 inhabitants mean that Swedes were three times more likely to commit crimes than Americans. In such categories as rape and assault, the difference was greater still.

The countries in bold print above had all banned spanking by the year 2002: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Austria. Is their criminal “leadership” just a coincidence — having nothing to do with taking away parental authority? Perhaps. Or is it a cause with the observed effect of lawlessness? Over thirty nations have adapted such a ban, so this is no academic question. It is affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and the UN aims to affect the lives of billions of people in the same way.

For much more on this, please read the article, “Cultural Spillover” and soberly consider the future as you do.
Sincerely,
Kevin Carlin

 

P.S All our Yellow Delis, businesses, and markets will be closed June 8 to honor the upcoming festival:

Shavuot (also known as Pentecost)

This is a very special celebration for our people. We will be having festivities throughout our tribes and clans. Everyone is welcome to join us. Let us know if you need specific information and directions. You can find all of our addresses and phone numbers at this link: http://twelvetribes.org/locations

Thus, our delis will be closed Sunday, June 8th.

We will reopen Monday, June 9th at 7a.m.

Please mark your calendar and do not plan your visits to the Yellow Deli that day. We love our customers and hope you will understand the importance of the life we share as a community in running this Yellow Deli for you.

Sincerely,

Your friends at the Yellow Deli

Published as Newsletter 30 on June 5, 2014.

  1. Benjamin Spock, Dr. Spock on Parenting: Sensible, Reassuring Advice for Today’s Parent (Simon and Schuster, 1988), p. 172.

Days that Matter, Part 2

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Closing for Passover, 2014

In just about a month our Yellow Delis will close for one week. You will find these cheery notice displayed at our Delis until then:

 

NOTICE

We will be closed to honor the upcoming week-long festival:

Passover (Pesach)

&

The Days of Unleavened Bread

 

As you can tell by the name of this ancient Biblical festival, it has to do with the leaven in the BREAD. Well, we are famous bread bakers, who use lots of leaven daily as we bake, but our faith specifically bans leaven during this festival. Therefore, during this special week we will not be able to bake our breads. (If you want to know more about this festival, just ask. We would be glad to explain it to you.)

Thus, we will be closed the week of April 14-April 21

 

Please mark your calendar and do not plan your visits to The Yellow Deli during that week. We love our customers and hope you will understand the importance of the life we share as a community in running this Yellow Deli for you.
Sincerely,

Your friends at The Yellow Deli

 

We have been considering the issue of continuing to bake and serve leavened bread in our delis and bakeries during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Ex 12:19 says, “For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.

No longer then does it seem like we can bake and serve leavened bread in our delis during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

During this time we will do much to enhance our delis, so the benefits will be for our customers when we reopen. The service you receive comes from a special life, a different life, that we need to maintain the heart of. Closing during these festive times are a vital part of that.

We even trust this will be less confusing for our customers then opening and closing our delis for the high sabbaths, as we have in past years. Being closed for the seven days is much simpler!

We hope our customers will understand that this is testimony to the sincerity of our faith. Our faith must come first in our lives.

Sincerely,

Kevin Carlin

 

Part 1 of “Days that Matter” was sent out a year ago, on March 13, 2013, as Newsletter 14.

They can’t admit they made an error!

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Dear Friends,

Here is an update on the dire situation facing our families in Germany from two respected researchers into new religions. They are Susan Palmer of Canada and Liselotta Frisk from Sweden. Theirs is an objective view about an aspect of the situation that should have played prominently in all the news reports, but hasn’t — the anti-religious bias of the Jugendamt and the courts. This makes what is happening in Germany religious persecution. As the last paragraph notes, teaching our children about their Creator — to inspire them to obey their consciences — is now considered brainwashing. Welcome to the world of Isaiah 5:20!

So we continue to pray and beseech our God in all our communities around the world, night and day, for an end to this cruel injustice. The following report provides many new details of that cruelty. It makes for grim reading. We long all the more for the day when all the children are home!

Sincerely,

Kevin Carlin

Update on the Raid of the Children of the Twelve Tribes in Germany

graphics1Susan Palmer (McGill University, Canada) and Liselotte Frisk (Dalarna University, Sweden) writing from the Twelve Tribes’ farm in Klosterzimmern

On September 5, 2013 there was a massive police raid on the Twelve Tribes, a communal NRM [New Religious Movement] in Germany. A hundred police (local and “criminal”) and around 60 social workers descended at dawn on the two farming communities of Klosterzimmern and Wörnitz. The raid came as a complete surprise to the sleeping families. The police seized 40 children from 16 families and drove off in 25 vans.

This raid was prompted by allegations of physical abuse. But when doctors examined the children, they found no evidence. “But they can’t admit they made an error,” one father said. “They are trying to construct a case against us, inviting ex-members and sekt [cult] experts for information.”

It has been almost five months since the Jugendamt (youth services) obtained a judge’s temporary injunction for protective custody order, which took away the parental rights of members of the Twelve Tribes. Today, in January 2014, twenty-three children (including babies and two or three year olds) are still in the custody of the German state, and the biological parents are allowed very little contact.

As one father put it, “I have no right to determine the whereabouts of my own child.”
A communal and millenarian new religion movement, the Twelve Tribes emerged out of the Jesus People movement in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the 1970s. Its founder, Eugene Spriggs, and many of his disciples had roots in Christian fundamentalist churches, where spanking one’s children was (and still is) noncontroversial. The Tribes advocate disciplining their children with a “thin rod”, and quote Bible verses to support this practice.

In Germany spanking children is against the law. In 2000 a law promoting “non-violent education” was passed, and it has been strictly enforced since 2008.

The September 2013 raid was exceptional. Normally, when abuse is suspected, the Jugendamt (Youth Office) is required by law to send social workers to work with individual families to help them resolve problems. Only in extreme cases are children taken by the state. In this case, there was no warning. This emergency action was justified by the concern expressed that the “sekt” would flee.

Three nursing mothers were permitted to stay with their infants and four older children in an institution. But on December 9 there was a second police raid — to the surprise of the institution’s care workers. Babies were seized and the all seven children were bundled into separate cars that drove off in different directions.

After the September raid, most of the parents did not see their children for four months. In January they were permitted visits, but only every two or three weeks, for an hour or two. These visits are supervised by a pair of social workers taking notes and parents are warned not to try to “influence” their children. At the same, the older children are obviously being exposed to anticult attitudes to the “sekt”.

After four months, small children who live with foster parents are forgetting their mother tongue. Some fail to even recognize their own mothers and fathers. Promises made by social workers in the raid — that brothers and sisters could stay together — were later broken. The Jugendamt split up siblings so that children can be “free to develop their personalities”.

The Tribes worry that foster parents are bribing or “defiling” their children with a pork diet, television, internet, candies and toys. Parents report that many of the exiled children are not doing well. Some are in convents, others in shelters for delinquent teens. Two boys, one diabetic boy and one who fell down a staircase, have been rushed to hospital. But a fifteen year-old lad who broke his wrist has received no medical care. Some appear traumatized by being separated from parents and family, and are constantly asking to see a beloved brother or sister.

One 14-year old declared in court that he wanted to go home, but the lawyer assigned to him said, “He has clearly stated his will, but his will has been broken growing up in the Twelve Tribes, so this is not his will — and he should remain in custody “for the well-being of the child.”

This same boy later escaped out through a window and took the train home. Police recaptured him the next day, his parents took him to the higher court to be able to “declare his will”, and he was forced to return to the foster home while awaiting the court’s decision. Then he escaped a second time. Finally, the court acknowledged it was his will (or else he was hopelessly indoctrinated?).

Two other teens took escaped from their institutions and returned home. You can read the 17-year-old girl’s account of the raid, her escape to Switzerland with her younger sister, and their traumatic recapture by the police, (see “Diary of an Abused Child”).

The Jugendamt dates back to the World War II, when it was created to provide aid for war orphans. This expert advisory body exists only in Germany, with the status of a Guardian Council. It is independent and autonomous, and its power exceeds even that of the police.

The Jugendamt can enter a family residence on the basis of an anonymous allegation and, even without a court order, can take a child into custody. This often leads to pre-emptive measures and scrambling for evidence in order to obtain post hoc judicial approval of arbitrary raids. Complaints concerning the Jugendamt have been brought to the attention of the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights — many claiming that its employees defend their own bureaucratic interests and the cultural norms of German social policy.

Following the September raid, some parents were required by the court to undergo psychological testing. Although they scored high in the “personality” section, because of their biblically-based views on spanking they were deemed “unfit parents”.

“What they don’t seem to get,” one mother said, “is that they’re our children. They belong to us, their parents — and the German Government has no right to steal them!”

Strong “anti-cult” bias at the heart of the Conflict

A closer study of this situation reveals a strong “anti-cult” bias at the heart of the conflict.
Since 2010, a network composed of ex-members, social workers, journalists, sekt experts, and worried relatives has been forming, exchanging information about the fanatical, fundamentalist, patriarchal “sekt” where children are beaten.

There was a strong Catholic and Lutheran “counter-cult” presence at the court hearings. Sekt expert, Klaudia Hartmann from the Augsburg Catholic Diocese testified at the September 13 court hearing for the parents from Wörnitz. A Mr. Behnck and other Protestant sekt experts were consulted.

Before the raid, on August 21, there were two experts from Sekten-Info Nordrhein-Westfalen to support the Jugendamt‘s application for the judge’s temporary custody order. Ex-members were also present at that hearing. Since 2010, ex-members, notably the Reip family, have aired their atrocity stories in the media.

In June 2013, Wolfram Kuhnigt, a journalist from RTL, infiltrated the Klosterzimmern community posing as a troubled soul undergoing a painful divorce. He planted hidden cameras around the property and beneath the central meeting hall to capture on film the Tribes’ disciplinary practices. Kuhnigt stars in his own drama as the deeply concerned investigative reporter embarking on a dangerous mission.

Scenes of mothers swatting their toddlers three of four times with flimsy balloon sticks are crafted into horror movie scenes through suspenseful music, lurid angles and a biased narrator. Edited out, we were told, are the “hugs of reconciliation” that normally complete the discipline.

We see close-up shots of Kuhnigt’s face wincing in horror as he watches his own footage, and there is a long narcissistic scene of Kuhnigt shaving off his beard to return in “disguise” to the Tribes’ autumn festival (although they recognized him immediately). We follow the whistle-blowers’ progress as he shows his film to the Jugendamt’s director, and to a sekt expert — actions which set plans for the raid in motion.

This journalist not only prompted the raid, he stars in the climactic scene — the raid itself. This film was aired on television shortly after the raid.

Considering Germany’s recent attempt to pass a law against male circumcision, a similar stigmatizing film might have been made about the Orthodox Jews or the Hassidim — but the Jews are still a sensitive topic in Germany.

Time is of essence for the parents of the Twelve Tribes, especially those with infants and toddlers. For even if they eventually regain custody of their children in the higher court, the court might decide it is in the best interest of the child to let them remain in foster homes — for the child’s “well-being” and “stability”.

“They are trying to deprogram our children,” one father claimed. “They don’t want the children to go back to the sekt. They are not just worried about spanking. They accuse us of ‘breaking the child’s will’ — of interfering with a child’s right to ‘freely develop the personality.’ An ex-member told them our spanking stops with the Bar Mitvah — but then ‘psychological pressure’ begins.

So, when we teach our children about our Creator, to be true to their own conscience, the Jugendamt says we are brainwashing them.”

This was originally sent out as Newsletter 28 on February 10, 2014.

You can find this “Update” at our News Blog site, too.