August 27, 2004 (c)Homer Kizer

Commentary - From the Margins

The Port Austin Sabbatarin Community

What happens when good ideas are not thought through, or when unstated conflicting agendas collide? What happens when God’s participation has been requested? The Port Austin Sabbatarian Community, a mini-city set upon a hill at the tip of Michigan’s geographical thumb, will reveal the answers to these questions over the next few weeks. This city of light, a former Air Force radar site, is already under candid scrutiny by regulatory agencies—a Ryder-style truck owned by one of the trustees was loaned to the former director of the property. Even though the truck had been used by another trustee to make five trips from the East Lancing area, the truck was unlicensed. And the truck was impounded in Illinois when the former property director left it overnight in a public parking lot. The truck appeared too suspicious. It was the color and the type used by Timothy McVey. It had no painted identification on its van-style bed. It had no license, and no business being where it was parked. And it had come from the same county in Michigan as McVey had come.

Instead of questions being asked by the police who were aware of the impounded truck, the vehicle was released to the former site director (his boss is presently in jail for business irregularities). So after paying the towing fee, the former site director left Illinois and returned to Michigan’s Huron County. The truck was finally licensed, an oversight that typifies the understaffed, underfunded, and underplanned Port Austin project. The former site director then reloaded the now licensed truck. Another trustee of the Port Austin Sabbatarian Community rode with the former site director back to Illinois, then took the truck on to Missouri. He has since continued on to South Dakota where the trustee will load the truck with the possessions of the individual who is to serve as the librarian for the Community.

Instead of questions being asked by the police, an investigation was begun. The government, State and Federal, for the protection of its citizens would be negligent if it didn’t investigate. And because the truck crossed several state lines, Federal agencies should lead this investigative effort.

The question that must now be answered is, When are coincidences not coincidental? How might God enter into the affairs of men to convince individuals that they must walk absolutely upright before Him and before men? Might He use government surveillance and informants? The Apostle Paul, in the 13th chapter of Romans, states that all governmental powers are of Him, and are given for the good of Christians. An obvious argument can be made: governments of men have persecuted and killed many Christian disciples. Jesus, Himself, was killed by entities of the Roman government. The governments of China, and of most Islam nations are presently martyring disciples. So can good come from persecution? Of course it can. Christianity is a way of life that rules the minds of Believers. Apostle Paul’s new man or creature is a mental creation that resides in the same body of flesh as the old man possessed. This new man becomes the spiritual ark of the covenant, over which grace hovers. This new man contains the two tablets of the law of God—under the new covenant, the law of God is written on the heart and mind (i.e., the conscience) of the Believer. Also in this spiritual ark are rebirth and the promise of glorification, symbolized by Aaron’s budded staff, and the presence of Christ Jesus, symbolized by the jar of manna.

Disciples are the temple of God, created through receiving the Breath of God [Pneuma ’Agion]. And this inner temple of the mind and conscience fights against the law of sin and death that still resides in the flesh. The fight is, until liberation from bondage to sin, truly to the death of the new man or to the death of the flesh. No quarter can be nor will be taken. War must be waged. But a war fought for control of the mind, a war fought entirely within the mind; for the mind serves as the inside of the proverbial cup. When the mind has been cleansed, even the outside of the cup is clean. So the war isn’t fought with military arms. It isn’t fought by protest marches, or by political movements. It isn’t fought by picketing abortion clinics, or by clever schemes that seem to promise tax evasion, or by sacred trust agreements. It isn’t fought by claiming all one does is done as a church, and thereby protected under the anti-establishment clause of the First Amendment. No, it is fought by living uprightly before men and God, by walking blamelessly in all the disciple does, by submitting to civil statutes and regulations that have been imposed for the greater good of the nation’s citizen as long as those statutes do not restrict proclaiming Christ to the world. It is fought by paying taxes, and by having love for neighbors, which means not asking the local taxing authority to exclude a particular piece of property from its assessment roll just because the property is used as a church. Such exclusions seem to violate the anti-establishment clause, and such exclusions cause adjoining property owners to pay the cost of providing services to the exempted property. This transferal of costs harms neighbors, thus is anti-love.

 The Port Austin Sabbatarian Community is only now thinking through how it should be organized and operated. It will collapse from its own good intentions if it doesn’t radically change courses. One of its trustees has Federal “Top Security” clearance—this trustee has, from the beginning, insisted that everything done is squeaky clean. And this trustee has been frustrated by another trustee who wants to use “church” to conceal the activities of the Community from the eyes of the world. Therefore, a schism has developed among the trustees that threatens to end this community before it truly begins—unless the clandestine surveillance by Federal authorities causes the community to become structurally transparent to all regulating agencies.

To the end that the Port Austin Sabbatarian Community needs the prying eyes of the BATF to cause all of the trustees to walk uprightly, the surveillance and informants are God-sent. For until all of the trustees have matured spiritually enough to realize that they live daily under the observation of angels, those governmental powers that the Apostle Paul says are ordained of God will need to be in place to remind everyone that in everything one does, someone is watching.

Therefore, to those who are watching, thank you for being diligent. I don’t want another Oklahoma City to occur—and the unlicensed Ryder-style truck being left in an Illinois parking lot is too similar, too coincidental to be ignored.

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