Friday, December 05, 2014

Marci McDonald: A "friend" of Faytene?

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs on, November 10, 2014]

Did you know that reporter and author Marci McDonald was at one time part of "The hand of Hell"?

Or that at one time, she was a "friend" of Canadian evangelist and activist Faytene Grasseschi (nee Kryskow), who was a portrayed as a poster child for religious extremism in McDonald's 2010 book The Armageddon Factor?

Oh, don't worry, I'll bet McDonald is surprised too.

This follows up on a bit of a "nine day wonder" in the spring and summer of 2010 where The Armageddon Factor was discussed extensively in the media and on this blog.

And hopefully it also sheds light on how a certain charismatic Christian mindset reacts to being in the public eye.

In October 2013, Faytene Grasseschi spoke at The Harvest, a small church in Kitimat. B.C. [My apologies, but I only found this in the past few days. And since it touches on something that caused quite a media and blogosphere firestorm back in 2010, I think this follow-up would be very useful.]

McDonald, a veteran reporter, came out with The Armageddon Factor in the spring of 2010. Her thesis was that "Christian nationalism" was having a dangerous influence on Canadian politics. Political conservatives, in turn, thought her book poorly researched and alarmist.

[I Have my own bias. The hardcover edition of the book made a passing reference to Terry O'Neill, my former editor at the magazine I worked for, with a glaring factual error. That specific item, I've posted on here. Terry O'Neill won a correction in the paperback edition of the book.]

[I myself felt that the specific enemy she feared remained too weak to fear. However, although I disagreed with her, the public policy question she raised is important, interesting and newsworthy.]

Anyways, McDonald featured Faytene as a "bete noire" in her book, with an entire chapter on how scary Faytene reportedly was.

Fast forward to the fall of last year when Faytene was speaking at The Harvest. Her sermon for Oct. 10, 2013 is on streaming audio here.

Faytene was speaking about being able to persevere through adversity. I'll blog about the whole thing, but I'll single out the part about McDonald first.

At 1:06:27, Faytene says this (emphasis mine):

"....Within the same 24 hours period believe it or not, within the same 24 hour period, a friend of mine who I love and can't wait to see her next named Marci McDonald, who is an international best selling author with the New York Times [best-seller list] wrote a book, some of you might remember it, it came out right that month, April 2010, called The Armageddon Factor and it was [subtitled] the Rise of [Christian Nationalism in Canada]

And it [The Armaggeddon Factor] was a full-on slam on the Christian movement who were influencing government, with the number one focus of the very first chapter and the [rest of the] book being yours truly, personally by name! She talked about my family in the book [Faytene chuckles] and the same day she was on {the TV program] and this book was everywhere in Ottawa! People were like 'You're that girl! You're like that scary girl!' or whatever..."

While I pick myself off the floor, my readers off the floor, and perhaps Marci McDonald off the floor, some observations.

As of the fall of 2013, how could Marci McDonald and Faytene Grasseschi possibly be friends? Especially after McDonald put the boots to Faytene in her book?

It would take a miracle, but Faytene is fond of that sort of thing. :)

I have to wonder if this is true. Whether Faytene thought to herself "Oh, I'm all the way over in Kitimat B.C., Marci will never hear this..." Would to God they were friends, but it would be quite the story if that were truly the case.]

And now cue a little back to her more general remarks on her dark night of the soul in April 2010, which start at 1:03:04 of the sermon audio.

She is trying to communicate the spiritual value of stick-to-it-iveness through adversity to her audience. Granted as a charismatic, I'm receptive to her point of view, yet I thought she had insight.

She tells the church audience, starting at 1:03:54 about a dark night of the soul in April 2010. She began by saying this was the first time in Canada, and the second time ever, that she was going to share about this.

" a 24 hour period, there [was] a convergence of events where both heaven and hell, literally--and my dad was a hockey player so I understand this--lifted me up and and threw me up against the boards at the same time."

She briefly alludes to receiving a word of correction about how she ran her ministries. So, you could understand that if you threw the release of McDonald's book on top of that, Faytene was quite distraught.

And then Canada AM was talking about the book on their program.

Back to Faytene, starting at 1:17:30 (emphasis mine):

"In Ottawa, people were like 'You're that girl that's like that scary girl' or whatever and I was in this thing where the hand of the Lord was dealing with me....but also the hand of Hell was just coming down on me. Professors from different universities that were writing expose articles about me, and it was like, it was like...This little girl, who is just trying to pray for Canada, you know what I mean? I had no grid for how to deal with a massive persecution at the national media level...."

"....[It was like, it was just tough and literally this demonic oppression--I can honestly say that demonic oppression jumped on me in this moment of vulnerability...."

"....It's like all I needed in that moment was, like, a hug, and somebody to tell me that I wasn't an evil person for mobilizing prayer in Canada. You know, like really. Because i felt like Hell was screaming in my face..."

This drove Faytene to her knees and God helped her through. But she felt sorry for herself first.

"How do I, in this moment, not quit?" she remembers thinking. "How do I not say 'What am I doing this for? What am I working for free for? Why am I working 18 hours a day? What is this about?"

Faytene added that she felt like she was under "the cloud of hell", but came to understand the value of perseverence.

"...I determined in my heart and spirit to finish to the end" she said. "Even if nobody is cheering me on. Even. Even if I feel misunderstood. Even if the national media has got a bazooka to my face...."

This isn't new with Faytene. She has overreacted to the media and blogging before, as I have explained in an earlier post, which you may read on this blog.

I have enough of a difficulty discerning for myself, let alone for someone else.

Faytene's ministry method of "touching the heart of a King" to have profound effects for less effort, seems wise.

And if she could be conservative without any dominionist overtones, I would be happy.

However, he tendency to demonize those she sees as her opponents is worrisome.

There is a devil, and he does work and oppose. But could those who differ with her be just opposing her using their own human reasoning and opinions?

If Faytene does believe that the devil was behind her woes, I applaud her forthrightness in saying just that.

But using "the devil" could be like using an anvil to swat a fly.

Her remarks to this church could point to a reason why she was savaged in The Armageddon Factor.

Faytene, in these remarks, seems to think of herself in two ways.

First, she is a "little girl" who started "a prayer movement". Think Judy Garland in those old movies where Judy and the kids "put on a show." Why are you picking on her?

And then she is someone with stick-to-itiveness, a "finisher", which is certainly a good thing. Yet, Faytene has been fond in the past of using Joan of Arc as an example. So, I think that Joan may have been an example to Faytene of this second sort of person.

Think of McDonald now. I would speculate that McDonald would be very familiar with the old stereotype of the humble well meaning, moderate Canadian church. The Anglicans. The old United Church. Think of "The Comfortable Pew".

McDonald, then, might have thought of ardently conservative activist types such as Faytene Kryskow(as she then was) as something from outer space. A stake, wood and fire, is how you respond to a Joan of Arc type. This may explain why McDonald reacted that way in her book, as if Orson Welles is broadcasting his War of the Worlds.

As I said, McDonald could fairly argue her thesis in her book. But for Faytene to default to It`s the devil!" ignores possible explanations such as the one I just advanced. If you torque up the rhetoric, don`t be surprised if there is a response in kind.

Faytene may well be right. McDonald may well be right. And I may well be right about some reasons why this perfect storm happened.

But at any rate, it`s good to get one side of the story regarding this tempest in a teacup that made a bit of a media and internet storm a few years ago. If you got wet, this lady's point of view might explain why.