Postcards From Babylon

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58 Responses

  1. pstrmike says:

    Two minutes into this video and I already know it’s going to be worth watching. I feel the same way, I want with the time I have left, to teach the scriptures from a contemplative perspective to a people who have never been exposed to this type of spirituality of following Jesus, not from the Zionist perspective, but from the rivers of Babylon.

  2. greg says:

    Pastor Mike
    The first half of this documentary resonated with me as well, however like so much of what is posted today, it started well and finished very poorly. Lot of garbage at the end. Read with discernment…..

  3. pstrmike says:

    Thanks greg. I always try to do so and believe there is always some chaff mixed in with the wheat in all of us

  4. greg says:

    that is true enough

  5. Michael says:

    I didn’t perceive any “garbage”. I heard ideas that provoked me to think more deeply about my own faith and my own biases.

    Unfortunately, I enjoy thought provoking stuff…

  6. Officerhoppy says:

    I only saw a few minutes, but is this going to try to make me feel ashamed for being an American, a follower of Christ, white, born during the Truman administration, who didn’t vote for Trump and never will , but still covers his heart with his hand at baseball games during the playing of the national anthem?

  7. Michael says:



    That’s what I’ve devoted all my studies to accomplishing.

  8. Michael says:

    The video is a theological discussion of Christians and empire.

    It is to provoke thought and discussion.

    I’m not sure that’s possible here, but I never know when to quit…

  9. Anne says:

    Thank you for this. Even though I wept through a lot of it. Deeply appreciated the In Memory of at the end. I wondered for a long time how so many of the folks I know in the BLM movement & Veterans for Peace could continue to be Christians. All I mostly knew was the RCC, CC,EO. In my youth as
    I was an inquirer of Eastern Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    Orthodoxy for a couple of years. The reverence of Constantine was one of the deal breakers – no matter how much my Orthodox friends would justify it as the divine plan to convert the world.

    The disciples were first called Christian in Antioch, if memory serves correctly: mockingly little christs.

    As the Apostle John proclaimed:
    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
    Love & peace be with you

  10. Michael says:


    Thank you, my friend…always good to see you here.

  11. Anne says:

    Oops! Hit send w/o proofreading. Apologies for broken sentences & gaps. At 69, there are more broken spaces in my brain. smh

  12. Dread says:

    Radical anabaptist pacifism smuggled in under anti evangelical propaganda… Brian Zahnd being himself.

  13. Michael says:

    Brilliant summation.

    Seems to me that the debate over Christians and war was a long and hard one during the first centuries of the church.

    Of course, I may just be reading liberal ,God hating church history books.

    As far as anti evangelical propaganda…seems to me that this focused on Christian nationalism, not evangelicals as a whole.

    But I get that dismissal is far easier than discussion…

  14. Dread says:

    For the record the narration of Zahnd describing war and sacrifice at the end was THE strongest part of the program… the testimony of Whener at about 49 min was ACTUALLY bi-partisan and applied perfectly to today’s left wing christianity embodied in the present empire regime. The BLM part overlooked the use of redemptive violence probably because of tacit approval… the civil war bits were shameful by all parties … and the corporate guilt narrative needs some theological reflection and not just uncritical embrace and proclamation by the narrators. And it gets 5 stars for typical left wing smugness. But…

    Glad I watched it … every word.

  15. Dread says:


    I am always willing to discuss… but you’ve been at least as dismissive and snarky as I this week … that’s how we carry on…. I was typing before I saw your appropriate retort… I know when I deserve scorn

  16. Michael says:

    My scorn is not personal in your case.

    I’m weary of trying to push toward theological, Christocentic discussions of these matters without it devolving into partisan politics.

    Without a reasoned and reasonable center developing the secular society is not long for this world.

    Without a laser focus on Jesus, the church’s decline will hasten…a remnant will remain, but only because He promised.

  17. Dread says:

    It did feel as if to me that BZ made a proxy out of a caricature of Christian nationalism… he could easily have included the political left and its obsession with war… And I should have anticipated that it would end up being about a pacifist option … but they threw the kitchen sink at it.

    There are serious conservative Christians that could have participated. Mohler himself, Os Guinness, Scott Hahn, I can name a long list but they wanted the frame of a caricature … TRUMPism and frankly what we have right now in the oval is as big of a clown as we’ve ever seen especially as pertaining to truth telling.

    When a program like that is seriously indicting the wrecked Christianity of left and right I will be much more open.

  18. Dread says:

    Jesus is definitely the end of nationalism …

    We could start there and actually have a discussion.

  19. Michael says:

    Perhaps tomorrow…it;’s past my bedtime…

  20. pstrmike says:

    Great discussion here.

    I didn’t get past the first five minutes as life’s circumstances drew me away. Maybe I can finish watching tomorrow.

    Michael and I have talked about the church in exile-but doesn’t believe it- for years. We are a part of the kingdom of God, I dislike Christian identification with both the left or right……

    I’m hoping to pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago some day

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    As long as the default position in such discussions is political affiliation, or partisan talking points, the discussion cannot move forward. This applies to both sides of the political, partisan, divide…

    I would suggest that the default position should be Christ and his teachings.

  22. Dread says:

    OK let’s take Brian’s actual words…

    20:39 “America does have an original sin, a founding sin, ordinarily people say, “yes slavery” I think we can be maybe a bit more precise. I would sasha it this way; America’s original sin is white supremacy with the primary manifestations of stolen land and slave labor all for the sake of the economy and what that is, what America hs been built on and that is not a foundation that a nation can ultimately endure upon and flourish – and what we are seeing right now I would maybe describe as something as the day of reckoning.”

    So is that accurate? Really accurate? We can reduce our nation to that pejorative set of ideas?

  23. pstrmike says:

    As a side thought, (I probably won’t have time to watch this today) I wonder to what degree that we as kingdom people should participate in the democratic experiment? To what degree should we have a sense of patriotism for our country, and if so what does patriotism look like for a kingdom person? How does Christ and His teachings inform our civic involvement?

  24. Michael says:


    Those are the questions that interest me…compel me to discussion and thought.
    I’m not entirely sure of the answers.
    Those are not side notes, they are the melody line…

  25. Michael says:


    Reductionism doesn’t work will in describing people or nations.

    However, that quote does speak truth about the history of America…it does not speak the entire history, but a characteristic of it. As a history buff, I think it informs us…and it informs us in some ways about today.

    If one wants to argue that BLM was not the way to correct that history, I won’t have much quarrel…but there has never been a group that tried to address it that was embraced by the masses, either.

  26. Michael says:


    It dawned on me last night that America has done well (been successful) without Jesus and wants to continue on with a nod in His general direction…

  27. Josh says:

    “So is that accurate?”

    To a black person or Native American, that is completely accurate.

  28. Dread says:

    So guilt is corporate and trans-generational… we must atone for the sins of the fathers.?

    And Michael,

    Is pacifism the only viable Jesus following direction? I would guess you would opt for the old state/individual binary. Personal pacifism under public sword bearing? Or more radical?

  29. Michael says:

    “So guilt is corporate and trans-generational… we must atone for the sins of the fathers.?”

    If one wants to celebrate the historical things that they believe made America great they must also account for what we did that was evil.

    I don’t understand why this troubles so many people…we kept slaves until the 1860’s….then Reconstruction….all the way through the sixties white people fought against equal standing for people of color.

    The idea that racism embedded in our foundation disappeared is almost funny.

    We can’t atone for those “sins”…we have the privilege of addressing and correcting the course of the future.

    As far as pacifism…it’s open for discussion…I have not laid out a position because I haven’t developed one.

  30. Josh says:

    “we must atone for the sins of the fathers.?”

    We can’t atone for the sins of the fathers. Impossible. And therein lies the problem. At least acknowledging the sin allows us to have compassion for someone with a different experience.

  31. Dread says:

    Yeah …. no one here has asserted that racism is cured so …

    “Systemic racism” and BZ uses the term pretty much the way BLM does… there is much much to debate there if the solution is to destroy the nation’s government (system) to fix it.

  32. Dread says:

    and this…

    49:05 “There is a cost to having someone like Donald Trump in office. One of them his that he is engaged in a full-scale all-out assault on the truth and concepts of truth and falsity, that is, it’s a constant stream and it’s an effort to try and blow apart the categories of truth and falsity. When that happens in a free republic, if you get in a situation where everybody gets to make up their own script there are no facts that we can agree on and you can simply make changes that you want, if that happens then self-government becomes very hard because then you go from self-government to the will to power and then it’s just the powerful who get to decide which facts prevail, so that I think is a huge issue when it comes to donald trump for good or ill. …” Pete Wehner

    So that problem has been cleared up since a new POTUS was elected and this problem is simply one that is secured by keeping the present regime?

    Look I have no issue rejecting Trump but this? It is neither better nor substantially different… it is stylistically less bombastic but horrific as to truth telling.

  33. Michael says:

    “there is much much to debate there if the solution is to destroy the nation’s government (system) to fix it.”

    I don’t know anyone in favor of that..

    As for Werner’s assessment of Trump and his lies, it is spot on. We have a large part of the country that believes the election was stolen despite Trump appointed judges laughing the claims out of court and as a result the whole experiment is under siege.

    Truth is hard to find…and Trump has the backing of people who are supposed to be the messengers of truth.

    This is not an attack on conservatives…it is a statement of fact about the man they chose to carry their water.

    The left will have to contend with all the Covid deceptions…for generations to come.

  34. Josh says:

    I think that is a good statement about Trump but doesn’t say anything about the current regime. I think most would have to admit displeasure with the Biden administration and would agree with your comments about him.

    The reason Trump is singled out is that one segment of the church adopted him, and is still running with him, and it doesn’t make sense.

    Biden just doesn’t inspire that level of cult devotion.

  35. Josh says:

    It looks like I am just copying Michael’s posts, but we are just saying the same things at the same time and he is getting in before me 🙂

  36. Michael says:


    Brilliant minds… 🙂

  37. Josh says:

    “This is not an attack on conservatives…”

    Maybe not, but the whole thing should have caused endless amounts of soul-searching among conservatives. The fact that is has not brings condemnation on their entire movement. I do not trust that they are sincere.

  38. Michael says:


    I trust none of them on either side…and that’s one reason why I keep advocating for separatism…

  39. Josh says:

    Me either, but again, the Christians who brought me up are all closely aligned with one side. Losing trust in them has been rough.

  40. pstrmike says:

    We have a system that is severely broke that neither liberal or conservative can fix in my opinion. The ancients understood this, and they did not consider democracy a virtuous form of government.

    “So is that accurate? Really accurate? “

    It only part of the story. As long as some hold to it as THE story, we will not move forward as a culture. We are not responsible for the actions of previous generations, we were born into this time and this place without our consult. However, the sins of the fathers are definitely being visited upon the sons to the third and fourth generation.

  41. Michael says:


    This is one area where Im glad I’ve always been the black sheep…always been an outlier. It makes commenting on everyone easier…

  42. Michael says:

    I think the reason it becomes THE story is that there is so much opposition to telling the story at all…

  43. Josh says:

    For certain people it is THE story. Are they supposed to celebrate Custer or Thomas Jefferson? Not a chance. They are different people with a different experience of our nation. For them, what Dread posted above is THE story.

  44. Josh says:

    Again, it happened, and we can’t fix it, but truly acknowledging and seeking to understand does begin to provide explanation for a lot of the things we see in our culture today.

  45. pstrmike says:

    Like I said…….

  46. Josh says:

    I’m not sure what you said.

  47. Josh says:

    “As long as some hold to it as THE story, we will not move forward as a culture. ”

    Until minorities recognize how good white people have been to them? Is that what you are saying?

  48. Michael says:


    I’ve never really had a tribe so I can’t get disappointed in groups personally.

    I’m greatly disappointed that on a board with so many devout believers and good thinkers, these discussions are close to impossible.

  49. Josh says:

    I’m trying. What’s the problem?

  50. Michael says:


    I know you are…and you’re doing well.

    It was a general statement.

    Yesterday, I got a bunch of feedback that I was soft on homosexuality.
    Today it will be about patriotism and racism.

    I’m simply trying to find out how we follow Jesus in addressing it all…it’s not going over well.

    It never has, now that I think about it.

  51. Josh says:

    Oh, sorry. I took that wrong. Yes, asking people to inspect their own beliefs will always bring pushback. We perceive it as a threat. Some of it is very much engrained in our upbringing, and thus, questioning it challenges things that feel core to who we are. No way to get out of that with out some irritable exchanges.

    Doesn’t mean its not worth doing.

  52. Michael says:

    Just notified that there is a group as I write this draping the Confederate flag over the overpass declaring themselves patriots…

  53. Josh says:

    Back in March when there was the supposed trucker convoy, people gathered on the overpasses here with Confederate flags. I thought it was just because we are backwards redknecks.

  54. PM says:

    I watched it. It covers a lot of ground, some that resonated and some not so much. However, as a white male evangelical, the challenge it offered to me, were many. The story of America isn’t complete if we insist on telling only the manifest destiny, perseverance of our forefathers, and righteousness of conquest(er,um expansion) version to ourselves. We/I leave out entire anthology of other stories, not as pleasant to hear, but part of our national fabric. One of my favorite current writers says, “America isn’t 1619 or 1776. It’s 1619 and 1776.”

    If we continue to carry water for politics over principle, death by drowning is sure to come. I say this as someone raised in an anabaptist, non politically involved church who is now realizing after over 30 years removed from that group that trying to align Jesus with a political party leaves him as a token only, something to tattoo or screen print on a t-shirt.

    It could be said that I’m returning to my roots during my recent examination of the intersection of politics and religion in the US. My critique is for the right, they are my birthplace. It’s an uncomfortable place to be, surrounded by family and lifelong friends who I believe have sold their credibility to purchase “power”. But I persist.

  55. Josh says:

    Very well said.

  56. Muff Potter says:

    Josh wrote @ 8:54 am:
    “To a black person or Native American, that is completely accurate.”

    I’m of Native American lineage, and I thought the film was little more than a slick and glossy propaganda piece.
    It made me think of Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will”, but in the opposite direction.
    But that’s just me, a known outlier, dissident, and renegade.
    As a free thinker beholden to none, I’m known to piss people off on both sides of the great divide.

  57. Bene D says:


    “we must atone for the sins of the fathers”?


    Postcards from Babylon resonated deeply.

    This week, as a Canadian I’ve watched our Inuit and First Nations ask the Pope to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery. I’ve seen our federal government recognize in the Truth and Reconciliation Report that ‘atonement’ (to make amends and reparation) is one necessary step for health and for steps toward equality, hope, respect and healing.

    Canada has been at this and in this journey for some time. This national journey will continue long past my lifetime.
    Same with South Africa.

    Past sins corrupt the present. The bible is clear the consequences of sin pass through generations. The intergenerational consequences of sins that citizens of Canada have learned about can be atoned for. Now. And tomorrow.

  58. Duane Arnold says:

    If I were a Holocaust denier, I would hope that I would rightly be banned from this site and any thread. Yet, as a historian, I know the following concerning another holocaust:
    “The total number of deaths directly attributable to the Middle Passage voyage is estimated at up to two million; a broader look at African deaths directly attributable to the institution of slavery from 1500 to 1900 suggests up to four million deaths.”

    How we deal with this past may be debatable. That it is incumbent that we do deal with it is vital…

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