Saturday, June 02, 2012

"[F]ocus, so, um, global dominion"--The Cry Hollywood defined?

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On Feb 27, 2012]

People are looking forward to the Cry Hollywood, a prayer event for Hollywood, led by Canada’s very own Faytene Grasseschi. Her own organizers have booked the 6,000 seat Gibson amphitheatre. Universal City in Los Angeles for March for their prayer event for Hollywood.

The ostensible purpose of the event, to see God work in the entertainment industry is certainly very laudable.

The latest promotional article, released by the ChristianNewsWire earlier today [Feb 27], shows that Faytene doesn't miss a trick. Or a possible "news peg".

The story, which cites studies which shows that the average North American spends less than 28 hours a year in church but 6 hours a day accessing media of some kind. {really?], quotes Faytene as follows:

...."In the wake of the recent passing of vocal icon Whitney Houston it is a reverent honor to come to the heart of Hollywood and lift up the people of this industry in prayer at this difficult time," says event director Faytene Grasseschi, "our heart is to love this city through prayer."

And The Cry Hollywood is not just a one day thing. A rally to raise support for the event has already been held at a church in Pasadena. After the prayer rally, on March 16-17, conference is planned at Angelus Temple church in Los Angeles, This Is That, to build on what might have happened during The Cry Hollywood. (This is interesting, as if there was any minister who knew the value of theatricality in sharing her message, it was Aimee Semple McPherson, who built the Angelus Temple.)

The event has received attention in various Christian online news outlets such as the Christian Post and the Christian News Service. Progressives on the ‘net are wondering about what will be happening next month as well…

When The Cry Hollywood was announced I wondered if this was a sign of a new moderation on Faytene’s part. In various ways, she has been sharing about what she hopes to do. Noting that “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” to realize that from her conservative Christian perspective, “Hollywood” is often a bad influence, she instead reasons that it might be better to try to call the good that God has placed in Hollywood out, and seek top bless Christians seeking to be salt and light in Hollywood.

Absolutely. I agree.

But the kicker with Faytene and her friends always seems to be “Is this all they mean to aim for?”

Faytene, I suspect, seems to have taken the Biblical admonition to be as wise as foxes to heart. Amidst all the good, laudable and praiseworthy plans that almost every Christian would like at The Cry Hollywood, there is a leavening on wanting to be on top, to have her brand of Christianity shape things.

In short, although she is now taking pains to say that The Cry Hollywood is “not a dominionist thing”, there are hints in two in-depth sermons and two interviews that dominionism—the idea that “we have to take Hollywood for Christ” may be very much at play at what will be going on next month.

You just need to listen for it. As a dog whistle will call a dog when you can’t hear it yourself, I suspect that those “in the know” who want a Gnostic-like hint that dominionism is a goal of this event, may be able to sense what may be about to be going on.

I hope to look at three different things that Faytene has done to promote and explain her event, in roughly chronological order, one at a time.

First would be Faytene and Robert Grasseschi’s appearance at Toure Robert’s One Church international sometime shortly before Christmas of last year.

[You may remember that I briefly touched on Robert’s comparison in which he said that Faytene was just like Michael Jordan except for the technical part that she is not a tall black gentleman who excelled in the NBA. Her entire sermon is here.]

The second item is a January 8, 2012 appearance by Faytene on the “Evo Show”, a Christian internet show based out of Arizona. The program includes footage of an appearance she made at a church in that State, in which, as I will try to explain, she lets the cat out of the bag.

The third item, is an interview that Faytene did with the Christian Internet radio program Revolution Radio, from Seattle, Washington, on January 10, 2012.

Let’s begin with Faytene’s remarks at Toure Robert’s church.

She eases into establishing a rapport with her audience. The church evidently has a lot of people who are either involved in the entertainment industry or hope to be so that is why Faytene says the following.

“When I was in college, I was into dance and film production” she says. “That was my heart and passion.”

Well, an old Faytene Zoominfo page lists her degree from Simon Fraser University as being a “communications degree”, but she might have had an interest in these things when she wasn’t practicing karate, so we'll give her a pass on that.

She begins to talk about her days as a missionary in Liberia. I’ve heard this before, but the spin that she is now putting on it is very intriguing. She, I presume, may want to have participants in The Cry Hollywood take this kind of approach too.

In her sermon, she remembers a prayer conversation that she had with God while she was ministering to many children and women who were disabled by the fighting there in the 1990s.

The Lord asked Faytene why so many people were suffering She answered it was “because that people who didn’t love God were in places of authority and just happened to have guns.”

“The Lord said ‘Exactly.” He said ‘Faytene you could spend Faytene you could spend your entire life picking up orphans one at a time and you would love in at it would be so Jesus… and I will call many to do that’, but then he said this “But If you could touch the heart of a king, if you could touch a heart of a person of influence…in a moment of time, you could change everything, you could literally liberate an entire nation of children of risk.’”

She then cites Christ’s admonition in Matthew 28, applying it to us today. “Make disciples of nations”, Faytene implies—as she has in her booked Marked,--for example—that entre nations need to be brought under the discipleship of Christ.

I’ve blogged on the problems with attempting to do this while Christ is not on the earth in his millennial kingdom, but what Christ asks us to do would properly be better translated “in” instead of “of. Individual people throughout the world can be baptized in water. Entire countries cannot be.

So, Faytene is arguing, target the leaders. Which is why she has spent so many years here in Canada lobbying politicians in Ottawa and try to do things there. A valuable insight, and I don’t fault people who are called to that. But certainly, it doesn’t apply to great majority of people.

Some cautions.

Let’s apply this to Hollywood, as Faytene may be thinking she should at least do in her own personal case, at the very least. Therefore in order to win Hollywood, we should covert the Clooneys and the Spielbergs. Sure, but God loves the key grips and writers as much as he loves the stars.

It would take a great deal of humility to be called to a mission field of George Lucases. I don’t think I would trust myself to field a message that I was called in this way.

One problem is that it is probably not hard to find folks who will happily minister to the Clint Eastwoods when a crying need to talk to the great mass of anonymous people who put on the things that we watch and listen too. And you know, if Faytene happened to win a key grip who would then go on to work with a huge unsaved star on a series of films and then win the star to the Lord through their own witness, that would be just as great.

I have to say that the Biblical example of Christ makes me wonder about this approach too. Christ certainly didn’t ignore that Romans and Jewish leaders of his day—who would have been the ‘people of influence of his day’, but He seemed to minister to everyone equally and impartially. We don’t read of Christ trying at all costs to save Pilate and Herod so that Judea could be transformed.

Also, the epistles talk about the poor and rich being equally brothers. No giving a better seat to a rich “person of influence.”

At 14:50 of the video, Faytene says, quoting God:
“Who is disciplining your nation? Who is discipling North America? Who is taking up that mantle that I gave the church, that I paid for with my blood?”

You need to “do all of it”, she adds. “Go to the backwoods of Africa and preach the Gospel”. But the Lord, she says, added to her. “I have called my people to be salt and light and be the lead culture.”

What may that mean? Well, a few months ago, We here blogged on Faytene’s efforts to influence social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Faytene and her friends hadn’t gotten the plays in the new playbook quite right yet, so there was overt talk about “taking the mountain” of social media of the Lord. As we had noticed that Faytene has a personal history of using social media with her elbows up and hitting other users, we had wondered about how Christlike that would be.

Faytene knows that people are listening to what she says carefully, so to be fair that I should that at 15:32 of the video, she says this:
“Now I’m not talking about some kind of weird domionist thing, forcing religion o people. I’m just talking about the goodness of God”.
Let’s take care to remember this for later.

I’m a great believer in applying the goodness of God to Hollywood, but I have a couple of questions.

How far would be idea of discipling the leaders of influence in Hollywood (what the Lord would apply to Liberia, he would apply to Hollywood, one assumes) go?

Salt and light needs to be introduced to entertainment. But I fear that a “lead culture” approach would discourage Christians who are doing great things without being part of a “lead Culture”. It sets up Christians to thing that they have “failed” because they don’t seem to be victorious, carrying all before them, when from an eternal perspective, thay might have done well.?

In an entertainment culture where dominionist Christians have carried all before them, can we trust them to try to “win” the “ungodly” instead of just blacklisting them? What if those sacked are committed Christians with just the wrong politics? Hollywood is full of human frailty.

She continues. “God’s goodness invades the earth and good things happen,” she says, as Christians are “invading places of influence.”

(Why the military language?)

Faytene carries on by talking to this American audience about her poitical tined activities here in Canada and then discussing about how her efforts to create a movment of “honour and blessing” in that regard seem to have borne good fruit and would also be fruitful in Hollywood.

At 20:04 she says:

“....understand the power of what we speak over a generation that is why the enemy [Satan] has gone after media like nobody’s business, right? Because he understands the power, whoever gets the highway, who ever gets the main pulpit speaking things over a generation because there [is} literally creative power in that….Every time a song is sung over a generation, it creates…”

[Well, do you need to stop “incorrect” music?]

At 24:42, Faytene adds this.

“I just want to beseech you. What are the songs that your going to sing over a generation. What are the movies, what are the screenplays which you are going to write over a generation? ‘Cause whatever we put up there in the high places, there is creative power in what we do.”

Therefore, as Hollywood exercises power and authority, and the Bible says to pray for those in authority, thus, Faytene says, we should pray for Hollywood. “Who has more cultural authority over a generation than entertainers,” Faytene said. “I’m just starting to get it. We are biblically mandated to pray for you.”

“The question is how is this sphere going to rule?” she laters adds. “We believe in the dream of God for this place [Hollywood]”

Sounds nice, but then at 29:53, she adds this about the need to meet in Hollywood, “…right in this cultural gate and you’ve seen our weapon of mass destruction. [Faytene giggles].”

Aside from another use of military language so beloved by dominionists, they often talk about “taking the gates” of something in order to exercise control of something. In Jesus’ name of course.

“And I’ll be honest, we don’t know what we’re doing, right. We just know Jesus works,” Faytene says. “He’s called us to be the lead culture.” Not one of many, the one in front.

Faytene means well in what she says a little after this, but it’s an implied slap at those Christians who have felt a need to critique Hollywood. She says “You know, I can’t wait until Hollywood meets the church that isn’t coming to point out what she is doing wrong, but to point out everything that she is doing right and to call her forth into everything that she could be.”

“I believe he has an incredible End Time destiny for this generation,” Faytene says.

[And I’ll note in passing that one of precept of dominionism is that there will not be a “falling away” but rather that the church will rise up, take charge and get the world ready for Jesus to rule. This idea may be carried forward in what she says next.]

At 31:38 she says this: “I don’t believe this is an event, I believe this is a movement that God is raising up, a people that understand the power of what we do in the spirit realm and then and go and make the word flesh in this sphere called entertainment, media.”

Her main remarks done, Faytene then goes on to prophesy about the destiny of Tore’s church. Of course, she says, what she says is “not a manipulative word”, but if various people in the congregation will seek to use their entertainment talents for this church, God will do incredible things there, even resulting in the creation of new forms of entertainment.

Remember how earlier in her address, Faytene said that what she was doing is not dominionist, no way, no how? Well, at 34:05, during her prophetic word for this church, Faytene says this, which stopped me in my tracks.

“You’re in a season where God has had you in a humble place, but he has bought Dominion [to you] and He has brought the word made flesh…”

Whoa there. How can dominion be bad and then be something that is a blessing to pray over a church merely 20 minutes later? Maybe Faytene meant earlier that there can be a “good dominionist thing which The Cry Hollywood could be. How could you not want The Cry Hollywood to be dominionist when having dominion is a blessing for a church?

I hope that Faytene is not prevaricating here. But saying that something is not a duck when it quacks like a duck is hard to believe.

In wrapping up her remarks here, she alludes to her record of work in Canada to says how far she believes she has come.

Back in the day she was “licking stamps”, doing menial work for Jesus. “If you would have said to me at that time that within six years, I would be face with the Prime Minister of Canada, of a G-8 nation and helping to steer righteous legislation, I would have said ‘Give me back that heroin.’”

Faytene has done some useful work in Canada. But, she gives the impression that she has had success after success. From the perspective of some conservative Christians in Ottawa--who recall Stephen Harper’s adamant statement during the election that the subject of abortion was closed, for example—the advent of a Tory majority hasn’t been much of a help in what they hope to do. But nobody listening to Faytene speaking in a church in L.A. is going to check out what Fayteen was able to do in Canada.

Maybe that’s why addressing Hollywood is a good career move for Faytene. What she was able to do and not do in Canada—think Roxanne’s Law—can be measured. In Hollywood, however, she can promise that God will change Hollywood. She can do good and laudable work, but her labours to Dominate Hollywood might have to last a lifetime. Fixing Hollywood is a lot more nebulous and less easy to measure than fixing Canada.

Don’t want to rain on the parade, but if we are level headed, these factors may come into play.

The second media item I would like to look at is her January appearance on the “Evo show”, an Arizona-based Internet TV show.

The program begins with a video clip of her remarks at a Phoenix church.

Faytene lets the cat out of the bag. And her slip provides the title of my post. It starts at 3:30. She is talking to the church about how the church as a whole can most effectively use their influence in a general way.

“...Our voice is powerful and we can literally affect global history through this microphone tonight [through prayer]…we have such a level of authority, and where there is great authority, there is great responsibility.”

She’s talking about a meeting with Stephen Harper in 2010, when she feels the need to put Canada in context for the American audience. “We kicked your tush in [Olympic} hockey,” she says, which we felt led to mention as her dad played in the NHL.

She is visibly distracted and needs to get back to her topic. And at 5:15, she reveals what it is.

“Geez, sorry I didn’t mean to do that, anyways that’s feisty…. Okay, but anyway focus, so, um, global dominion, okay…”
As she follows her slip by explaining what she was trying to do in Canadian politics, it naturally follows that was part of dominion. And logically, perhaps, The Cry Hollywood too, as it is a “place of influence” that may need to be iinvaded too.

So whatever she is talking about here is about taking global dominion? Thanks for the useful footnote, Faytene!”

Faytene is then interviewed by host Landon Schott in the studio. She talks a lot about her political activity in Canada, but at least here, she is modest enough to attribute her successes to those who are working and praying alongside her.

At 11:43 Faytene begins an interesting exchange with her host, but saying that during her daily prayers she and Robert “decree” together.

“We actually decree together.”

“What do you mean by decree?”

Faytene explains:

“The Bible says ‘we shall decree a thing’ or you shall ‘decree a thing and it will be established, right? So a decree is when you make a proclamation, or a statement. You know a statement of faith that is lined up with what God’s word said and you make that statement and it actually creates something in the spirit realm, because the Bible says that there is life and death in the power of what you speak, and so every single night Robert and I will sit on our bed and we’ll just begin decreeing for different areas in our lives and you know that’s been really exciting because I used to do that all by myself…but to do it with somebody and see God answer prayer…is really exciting.”

Bending things to your will and creating things from nothing by the power of your words? Dominionist all day long.

It can be hard for Americans to figure out the truth of Faytene’s description of what she was able to do up here, but I can perhaps fact check one item that she talks about.

In speaking about her work to help the efforts of Canadian MPs to form a pro-life caucus and work for legislation, Faytene says this: “We’ve never had anything like this in the history of our nation, um sort of on this level.”

Well, she may have a point if she is talking about how active a pro-life caucus has chosen to be. But, if Americans in her audience are thinking that there has never been a pro-life caucus in the history of Canada’s House of Commons, Faytene would be wrong.

There *was* a pro-life caucus during the Mulroney years. Although they weren’t as active as pro-life MPs may be now, they shared information and discussed issues together. So notes this PhD thesis on page 159. So “never had anything like this in the history of our nation” would probably be inaccurate.

And now for the third item, Faytene’s Jan. 10 interview on the Seattle-based internet radio show Revolution Radio. (broadcast live and then posted the following day on her site here.

Host Aimee Montgomery is quite perky and has a taste for softball questions, but she does do an okay job of introducing Faytene to folks in the US who don’t know of her.

Faytene, in setting the table, attempts to imply to her audience that the great things she was involved with in Canada can carry over to the US as well. Not gathering to “point a finger” or to “rail in accusation”, says Faytene, is key.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist” says Faytene in the interview, to realize that things are wrong with Hollywood. But she points to when she was a troubled 14-year-old, and argues that in the same way that condemning the teenage Faytene would have made her “worse”, so castigating Hollywood would do little good.

This thoughtful point, however, has this explanation near it.

Faytene told her radio audience this:

“It’s really a lot like where Ezekiel stood in the ‘valley of dry bones’ and God said “What do you see’, and basically the end of the story is ‘I see an army’ right? And so, we’re going in there to say we believe in you Hollywood and we want to see something amazing that comes out of this city, a city that impacts the whole world, America and Canada and Germany…we believe that you can be absolutely amazing.”

A good intent, yes, but why do you need to have an army associated with what you are thinking? If you are dominionist, though, this wouldn’t be as jarring an image as it might be to a 14-year-old Faytene.

She notes in passing that a The Cry event is planned for July--somewhere unspecified in Canada.

She then goes on to the details of how The Cry Hollywood was to be set up. The main full day event of The Cry Hollywood is to be held at the 6,000 seat Gibson’s Amplitheatre in the Universal City complex in Los Angeles. If you have already looked at the sign up site for the event, you will have noticed that everyone getting in has to pre-register in advance.

Says “Faytene, “We want to make sure that the people that are travelling, from Seattle [for example], that they get there [and can get in].”

Yes, true, but an indoor venue can be handy for other reasons as well.

The pop song said that it never rains in southern California, except when I was once on holiday. There is the slight possibility of rain.

But an outdoor venue raises its own problems.

An apparent lack of attendance as happened at The Cry Ottawa.

And when you’re outside, anybody can wander up and listen to what you have to say, and could even report on it.

Pre-screening your attendees will allow you to keep certain people out—if their names leap out at you.

It’s an old political adage to pick the smallest practical venue so that it looks like your cause is very popular. With the huge Christian population in Orange County, it would be easy to pack a 6,000 seat venue. The kind of venue which would demand the attention of the outside world to watch you were doing—such as the Rose Bowl, or Dodger Stadium—might attract lots of people, but have many empty seats too.

Although all the speakers are donating their time and travel expenses, Faytene said this in early January on this show. “It looks like it is going to cost about, probably $40-S50 per person to put on the event.”

(The budget hasn’t exploded since. As I write, they estimate the event will cost $200.000 and $128.000 has been raised to date.]

There will be conferences after the event, and it is hoped that the big day-long event will be edited and broadcast on GOD TV shortly afterwards.

Faytene returned to the point that she made at Robert’s church—that there are all the elite people who are not being ministered to.

“He [God] said if you want to see me move in this generation and [then] you need to go to the places of influence. I always used to think that it was all sort of going to the low places socially, of society, The bottom line is that Jesus wants us to be everywhere.”

Well yes, but as I noted before, it’s a lot more enjoyable for the non-humble ministering to George Lucas than children who are victims of war in Liberia, say. That’s sad, but that’s how it is…

Well, what to say now. Wanting God to move in Hollywood is a very praiseworthy goal. I fear however, that the little foxes of ego and the desire to be lordly may be getting in to spoil the best of good intentions.

It shouldn’t have to come to this, but perhaps we should pray that God will sift out the bad and keep the good in the event. Given what I feel I have been able to point to, maybe that is the most sensible;e way to pray.

Faytene might want to do her best to “put on a show” in that “barn” of a venue in Los Angeles. But she’ll pardon me, I hope, if I wait to see the reel of what could be some unpleasant “Coming Attractions” that I fear she is hinting at, before I applaud.