Dec 312015

headerEarlier this year I wrote this piece comparing corporate American evangelicalism to the “reality” show “Alaskan Bush People”.

“The show centers around a large family that has chosen to live “off the grid” in wilds of Alaska and focuses on how the family depends on each other in these primitive conditions and the deep faith the family has in each other and in God.

The “reality” that has been exposed is that the family doesn’t live out in the bush, they go out there only for filming the show.

The harsher “reality’ is that it is alleged that the family is actually a traveling band of con artists led by the patriarch of the clan.

The show is a fraudulent facade of Christian family values behind which seems to be all manner of sin and wickedness.

Trey loved this show, and I loved that he loved it, because of the values it promoted.

I spent a good portion of the weekend explaining to him that it was all a lie.

Unfortunately, the situation is a picture of so much we see in American corporate Christianity…a facade of virtue with much corruption behind the holy front.”

wmns_gfaThe number one story we featured here was undoubtedly the Gospel For Asia scandal…which looks remarkably like the “Alaskan Bush People” scandal.

The GFA false front of financial accountability and ascetic piety crumbled under the weight of allegations of cult like behavior and financial shenanigans.

The key to keeping programs like “ABP” on the air is to keep the facade of “reality” in place.

That requires that producers, directors and crew members stay silent about the truth of the matter and everyone involved must live the lie out in public.

Such is also the way that the corporate American religious machines keep the money coming in.

While some involved deeply in promoting and supporting the group have gone public in affirming the allegations, many, many, more are still silent and in being so allow the fraud and abuse to continue.

They are cowards and hirelings and will give an account to God someday for their choices.

Some Calvary Chapel pastors have asked their leaders to speak and give an accounting for their actions…and inaction.

They have found that their “leaders” will protect each other, not the “affiliates” or the congregations.

“Alaskan Bush People” is still on the air…and Gospel For Asia is still soliciting funds from those who have not heard the truth.

The sad part is that we tell the same stories every year…only the characters change.

For me, the second big story was the martyrdom of the Coptic Christians by ISIS.

True faith, on display for the world to see.

It turns out that one of them converted on his knees with a knife to his throat…

“Their God is my God”… amen.

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aThe third story has to be Naghmah Abedinis accusations of spousal abuse against her husband Saeed after three years of tireless work to see him freed from an Iranian prison.

The charges left the advocacy community in shock and killed any momentum it had generated.

My instincts tell me that there are more shocks to come and that we don’t know as much as we think about this story…

We will also continue to cover the story of child abuse in the Philippines and the cover up by Tom Randall of World Harvest Ministries…this story hasn’t gotten national attention, but it should.

MYOA Book1 Cover-4jPersonally, we celebrated the release of three books through Reader Hill publishers.

We will be working on other projects as well, with most of the attention going to our long awaited book on spiritual abuse.

Thanks to the grace and generosity of God and His people, we finished the year in the black with the lights on…which only God and I know is really a miracle.

I thank each one of you who have made it possible for me to make it through.

We also learned that we have some serious medical issues that will require some attention in the coming year.

Those will require some lifestyle changes and some changes here as well, that I’ve not fully understood yet.

Next Wednesday, I’ll be driving Trey, his mom, and stepdad, up to Portland from where they will fly to Germany.

Trey and his big brother will be undergoing treatment for Lyme disease, which has debilitated them both.

That will be my first challenge of 2016…he’ll be gone for three months.

Despite the challenges we know and the ones still to come, I’m excited for the New Year.

My prayer for us all is that we will see “the goodness of God in the land of the living”.

Thank you for being here and being part of this community…it’s you, the reader that makes this place special.


  20 Responses to “The PhxP Year in Review”

  1. Trey and his brother…

    May it be blest.

  2. Thank you, Xenia.
    It’s been quite the journey already and we’re hopeful this is the cure.

  3. Praying for Trey and Jonny, that the Lyme Disease will finally be effectively treated.

  4. Thank you, EricL…there’s a book in this for next year.

  5. Oh, and publishing your books was the highlight of the year for Reader Hill.

    You were the “good author” for the company, while I was the “flaky author” who failed to finish multiple books that were scheduled for 2015 release. Eric, the publisher, is mad at Eric, the author.

    I have a lot of writing to do for 2016 to get back on track. Oh well, back to work… 🙂

  6. If anyone thinks they had a bad year, watch this:

    Be a giver and have a Happy New Life.

  7. Wow Michael, I am glad to hear that both Trey and Johnny are going to Germany for the treatment for Lyme. Very good news, indeed….. You will miss him terribly…. please keep us updated.

    Prayers for you and the health related lifestyle changes and treatments for you…..

    I appreciate your comments about Saeed and Naghmeh…… I continue to pray for God’s will for them both….

    Blessed New Year to you, Trey and Miss Kitty. I deeply appreciate your life, ministry and blog.

  8. Paige ,
    I will be mindless… so I have to stay very busy.
    Much love to you…one of my pillars and a gift from God.

  9. “My prayer for us all is that we will see “the goodness of God in the land of the living”
    …amen to Michael’s (&David’s) prayer

    thankful for the good report and may 2016 be a better year and a God blessed one for all who visit the PhxP

    Lord, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, indeed!

  10. Prayers for your boys and for you in 2016…

  11. Thank you, Linnea!

  12. I had no idea how bad Lyme Disease is and I pray Johnny and Trey come back home free from this disease. I also pray for your health Michael. May God grant all of you His grace and peace during the coming weeks and months.

  13. Thank you and God’s best to you and yours, Erunner.

  14. If you are watching the Rose Parade, the Lutheran Church’s float in #91 – I think the last float.

  15. Happy New Year to all the Phoenix Preacher crowd. I don’t contribute much to the conversation, but I enjoy just listening. Best to you all and especially good health to our host Michael.

  16. Happy New Year to you as well, J.U…..glad to have you aboard.

  17. Michael your comments about Alaskan Bush People are harsh. The link you previously provided was to a sensationalist website akin to the National Enquirer. People magazine recently profiled this family and I’m sure thier story was well vetted. The family did misrepresent thier residence status for purposes of receiving Alaska oil money but I read a story that over 25% of Alaskans do the same thing and typically serve no jail time. Why have you fixated on this family?

  18. They’re not harsh enough.
    The people are complete and total frauds.

    I’m fixated because the media continues to sell a false facade about these itinerant con artists…which is exactly what many religious businesses are doing.

    If you’re interested there is a group on Facebook comprised of people that actually live where the Browns claim to…where you can also see their arrest records, other residences, and where they actually stay when filming this nonsense.

    I’ve been compared to Enquirer about a thousand times…

  19. Michael, Would you be so kind as to tell me (or link to it) when you wrote the post that you referenced (comparing corporate American Evangelicalism to the Alaskan TV show)? I’d like to read the original post.

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