No matter what we do whether it is reading the newspaper, turning on the television, going to work, keeping tabs on what is going on in Hollywood, following up with our favourite sports stars or studying world history all of what we see and are told by culture of that success is comes from this core value: “building an empire”.
When I was growing up in my teen years one of my favourite past times that I had was to play a video game with my two older brothers called “Age of Empires”. We were all home schooled growing up and many days we would work hard to finish our work early in the day so we could play Age of Empires for hours until bedtime on our computers. In Age of Empires the goal of the game was to start with a few villagers and a town centre and build a civilization from the Stone Age all the way to the Age of Kings (medieval time) and then ultimately to the Age of Conquerors (which was post-medieval era). The way you accumulated resources was to mine gold, stone, wood, food and build your empire until you created armies to conquer your enemies and expand your borders to ultimately became the victor of the world. We had lots of fun for many years playing that game. It is a simple and seemingly silly example but it ties in with what I want to communicate throughout this article.
I think it’s safe to say most people who end up using their power and influence to rule over others and take advantage of people didn’t have that pre-meditated in their thinking from the beginning.
Where does the problem of Empire-ism appear?
Answer: I believe it comes from forgetting where we have come from…which are the true roots of spirituality, organic faith and communion with God that is authentic, transparent and unstained from organized religion which I believe is one of the greatest shams to ever exist in humanity.
Straight up this is the original design and purpose of the good news a faith without agenda, empire, domination, hierarchy and to love those who are in need no matter the color of skin, their creed or nationality. Just like in the game Age of Empires I told you about earlier part of our focus needs to return to the Stone Age which had simplicity, authenticity, vulnerability, strong relationships and friendships with each other and the willingness to work together to achieve success and growth in each other’s callings in life.
Where is the crack in these foundations?
Problems begin to manifest when we start to promote growth and rising in the ranks above loving the people the Spirit has put in our lives. Our lives should never be about ourselves or about building the system but about helping others and following the design Creator God has fashioned for us. Since the beginning of humanity man has been in a constant war between the institutional way and the organic free way of practicing faith in God. Between those who insist that people must worship at a specific place, large churches, in conferences, and in big ministries, following the big names and ultimate religious hype AND between those who as Jesus described to the Samaritan Woman in John 3: “Those who worship neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem but are those who worship in spirit and in truth.” in whatever environment they are in.
Humanity must return to this foundation or organic freedom in order to bring down Empire-ism.
What is Empire-ism exactly?
Answer: A controlling and manipulative institutional culture that promotes the segregation of an individual or group of individuals above the rest of the people for the purpose of personal agenda and domination.
Kings & Conquerors
In my Age of Empires game example I talked about two ages that followed the primitive Stone Age and those were the Age of Kings and the Age of Conquerors. Like in the game there are two things that follow when a person is advancing in personal growth and success and that is:
#1: A sense of royalty of feeling like you are kicking ass and becoming more confident in who you are.
#2: Progressing well in life to the point of taking personal territory, reaching heights you never thought possible to where you now are influencing others.
It is important to differentiate between confidence which is healthy and necessary to have as a Conquering King/Queen and being a control freak who is a controlling, dominating abusive person who uses their title as King/Queen and/or Conqueror as a means to keep people underneath them. The latter description is the definition of one who operates in Empire-ism especially in places of organized religion the former is somebody who is a free individual unplugged from the system who is still connected to their ultimate source of inspiration and faith.
I am going to share a secret with you…one that I am still trying to cash in on…and one that I think all of us try to and resist from time to time…
Want to know what it is???
The key to the TOP is straight DOWN!
This is a total oxymoron to what we are taught in society today which says we must shoot straight up and do whatever means necessary to get there even if it means we lie, cheat and steal to get there.
To make my final point I want to use a quote from “Kingdom of Heaven” a 2001 movie directed by Ridley Scott a historical fiction about the Age of Kings & Conquerors during the era of the Crusades. The main character of the film Balian who is entrusted with the defence of Jerusalem has need of more soldiers to defend the city and when he finds a group of servants and peasants who have never been entrusted with a sword and he commissions them as Knights even though the religious leadership of the city tries to persuade Balian to abandon the people and dissuade him from caring about the people. In essence Balian breaks down the segregation between higher class and lower class citizens…and he does so publicly in front of the entire city with this stirring commission I will conclude my blog with. Click on the link for the commission.
Rise a Knight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X09A4aDA1Hc