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The Universal Spirituality of Exile and The Apocalypse of John
Mark Dankof's America Mark Dankof's America
North Wales , PA
Tuesday, October 4, 2005

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The Universal Spirituality of Exile and the Apocalypse of John

"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus."

Revelation 1: 9

I was walking my Long-Haired Dachshund tonight in the cool fall breeze of an isolated, wooded enclave located in the confines of suburban Philadelphia. If your mind operates like mine, this type of late-night trek in complete seclusion clears the mind. As the mind clears, it begins to take mental snapshots of different episodes spread over many years. As the snapshots isolate a moment in time, there are occasional moments where an insight occurs that supernaturally connects the dots and provides a deeper, more mysterious meaning to both the past

and present. Without claiming clairvoyance, the deeper ponderance of past and present can supply a

premonition about the future as well.

The first snapshot tonight repristinated the scene of a quiet dinner at the secluded outdoor table of a suburban Los Angeles restaurant. A night in June of 2005 was temporarily frozen in time warp. I saw myself seated again at the dinner table, with a scenic noctural view of the Van Nuys airport and the routine takeoffs and landings that punctuated the pleasant desert air without intruding into the thoughts and conversation of the table's occupants. My dining companions on that memorable night included the Persian human rights activist Shirin Neshat of Sarbazan. The other participants were a carefully chosen cadre of other Persian human rights activists and exiles from the tumultuous events which accompanied the demise of the Pahlavi Dynasty and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI) regime over a

quarter of a century ago.

I received a brief, poignant glimpse of the tortured psychic synthesis of love, pain, fear, estrangement, bitterness, and constant remembrance which characterizes the Persian expatriate in America. The anecdotes that night ranged from gripping personal accounts of bare escape from the nightmare that became Khomeini's Iran, to the terrifying conveyance of

ongoing episodes of shadowing by IRI agents in a variety of locations in both the United States and Europe. The fear of the sudden gunshot or knock-on-the-door in the dead of night that permeated Tehran in 1978 and 1979 has recurred with relentless reality in the allegedly safe haven of Southern California. This fear combines with an understandable Persian alienation from the increasingly decadent character of 21st century American culture, to produce a most noxious cocktail of incessant fear of the Future Unknown, where the apocalyptically turbulent and bizarre becomes a regular staple of life. Worst of all, the denizens of the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant that night wondered aloud if repatriation to the Land of Persia could be realized in their steadily evaporating lifetimes. The Youth of Revolution had been ruthlessly replaced by the Middle Age of Exile.

The next snapshot produced by the night air of early-fall Philadelphia took me farther back in time to August 12th,1996 and a nondescript Motel 6 room outside of San Diego. The exiles that night were not Persians but Middle Americans. The occasion was the aftermath of the collapse of the Pat Buchanan Presidential campaign, and the latter's 11th hour endorsement of Bob Dole at the Republican National Convention. The handful of largely working class, culturally conservative Americans who had staked their lives on Buchanan, gathered over pizza and Diet Coke in Room 123 of the Escondido, California Motel 6,

far removed from their candidate's posh suite at the Horton Hotel in downtown San Diego. They had not shared in Buchanan's televised Faustian rapproachement earlier that afternoon with Corporate America and the Republican Establishment at the San Diego Convention Center. They dined together in a spirit of quiet despondency and fatalistic resignation over the state of their individual lives and the dark landscape of the discernable future in a post-Christian America moving full speed ahead into the New World Order. Andy Griffith's Mayberry had suddenly vanished in the darkness without a trace. The denizens of Room 123 at Motel 6 compared notes that fateful night on their various experiences and mutually desperate situations in the different regions of America from whence they hailed, concluding that the America they resided in bore no resemblance to the land of their youth--or the choreographed, skillfully packaged, flag-draped pack of lies emanating from Bob Dole's

coronation that week as the Republican Party's anemic answer to an America limping into the 21st century as a mere shadow of its storied past.

The nine years since Pat Buchanan's Salamis in San Diego have only confirmed the decision of the Exiles of Room 123 to follow their noctural departure from Motel 6 and California with the abandonment of a political party, process, and culture totally coopted by the stacked deck of cards dealt to the losers by the predatory power elite of relentless globalism. King

George W. Bush is now the latest front-man for the supposed winners in this cruel and rapacious charade. He has brought the United States into an unwinnable $300 billon dollar war of counter-insurgency in Iraq, a move tagged by ex-National Security Agency chief Lt. General William Odom as the "greatest strategic blunder in the history of the United States." The burgeoning

budget and trade deficits of $500 and $700 billion respectively, signal an eventual jettisoning of dollar-based debt instruments by Asian banks holding a dagger at the throat of what remains of the Government of the United States. The fatal culmination of

this turn of historical event will collapse the American dollar, even as Middle Eastern oil bourses contemplate the exchange of the dollar for the Euro as the currency of the day in petroleum sales to the world. The tragi-comedy of the non-performance of FEMA in the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is suggestive of the larger slippage of the grip of the American political establishment on the management of events and contingencies in every single aspect of economic and political life on the planet. And on

the cultural front, the exponential increase in decadence and lawlessness is matched by the continued invasion of the American homeland by an estimated 3 million illegal aliens a year. Corporate America has apparently decided that cheap labor is worth

the price of the Balkanization of the homeland. And speaking of the homeland, the Deparment of Homeland Security and its beloved USA Patriot Act, continue to reduce the Bill of Rights to a paper fiction in the wake of the advent of the emergence

of the Beast derived by the marriage of the Central State to the Economic Consortium/Conglomerate. Those left out cannot "buy, or sell, or trade" (Revelation 13: 17). Who will be the final instrument in the impending Babylonian Exile of Old Glory? Communist

China? An emerging pan-Islamic alliance fed up with the Sykes-Picot Agreement and British-American support of Zionism? The clock is ticking to cataclysm.

Two thoughts hit me in the fall night air of a contemplative forested wandering in Philadelphia. The Persian expatriates of Los Angeles in the summer of 2005 are as organic one with the Middle American wandering in the wilderness embodied in the horrid events of San Diego almost a decade ago. For the former, spiritual exile has been accompanied by physical loss of home and geographic banishment at the hands of theocratic fanaticism. For the latter, spiritual exile may yet be accompanied by a tragedy matching that which occurred over a quarter of a century ago in Iran. The two constituents, in a mystical union enacted by psychic and physical suffering,have become one in spirit and in testimony.

The Apostle John speaks in his Apocalypse to all such exiles as their companion in suffering and patient endurance, awaiting the intervention of God and the dawning of His Kingdom (Revelation 1: 9). Having been banished to the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony, for staunch resistance to the idolatrous Emperor-worship cult of Domitian (81-96), the Apostle offers his Spirit-induced wisdom to exiles of all nationalities and epochs in history. The people of God in Smyrna are warned of the rise of persecution

and opposition in the world (2: 10), even as they are reminded that spiritual, not monetary currency, will determine the ability to persevere in an evil age. The martyrdom of Antipas (2: 13) underscores the potential cost of individual faithfulness to God and His


John contrasts this faithfulness unto death with the perpetual temptation to enact bargains and accommodations with predatory evil, as he sternly chastises the spirit of cancerous compromise among some in Pergamum and Sardis (2: 14, 15, 20f); the Church in Philadelphia is subsequently assured that patient endurance will mysteriously keep those who are of God from the hour of trial coming upon the entire world (3: 10); and finally, the Apostle reiterates the warning that the personage of the Beast is empowered by the Dragon who utilizes both signs of deception, and overt force, to coerce obeisance to a world system not under the authority of God, but of Satan.

To the exiles of Persia and the Old American Republic, "This calls for wisdom" (Revelation 13: 18).

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