The Rod of Iron

The Rod of Iron

Ancient images feature The Rod of IronOn September 11, I announced that I had finished the manuscript to The Rod of Iron, now a formal book idea at Something Or Other Publishing.  Casey Kasem, who was a close radio companion of mine throughout my troubled early teenage years, summed up the approach to this manuscript with his famous byline: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”  As I wrap up the manuscript review process, I look somewhat apprehensively forward to finding out if my editor feels I’ve measured up to Casey’s mentoring.

The very personal journey mapped out by the trilogy has been a long and winding road that, as The People of the Sign points out, predates my time on earth.  Certainly I’ve spent much of my intellectual, emotional, and spiritual life mining ancient history, in particular that which was recorded in or related to the Bible.  In college, for example, I joined the City of David archaeological expedition. But The Rod of Iron explores even more ancient territory.

From an archaeological perspective, the book joins the ancient temples of Göbekli Tepe to prophetic writings dating back 5,000 years. From a narrative perspective, it integrates theories that predate the planet, describing the first moments of the creation that unfolded space-time.  And philosophically, it explores the fractal patterns revealed by the fabric that originated, envelops, and permeates us, to provide what I believe are new hypotheses about who and what we are.

The Rod of Iron explores how our consciousness is fulfilling our destiny to emerge as Sons of God with similar creative capacities, albeit in infinitely weaker and more limited forms.  I hope you’ll click on the link and give it your vote.

QtubIron Pillar - a mysterious Rod of Iron

One example of a mysterious Rod of Iron.

Along the way — and by that I mean the path I chose when I initiated this audacious process — the trilogy that got written went well beyond what I had originally envisioned.  The act of putting pen to paper forced the documentation of many questions that demanded answers.  The fact that I had already published both the first volume and its sequel, The Hardness of the Heart, forced me to continue swimming in waters more profound than my inherent ability to negotiate.  The burden I laid upon myself drove me repeatedly to books, articles, events, mentors, ideas, and most importantly, my knees, in a desperate search for answers that would satisfy my admittedly obsessive quest for coherence. “Truthy,” superficial answers were not satisfying to me, nor did I believe they would satisfy those who would undoubtedly challenge the evidence I was presenting.  Instead, I continued to dig deeper and reach higher, drawing ever-larger circles in my efforts to solve riddle after puzzle after mystery to my own satisfaction in what one reviewer called a “relentless search for truth.”

In writing The Rod of Iron, a desire to more fully understand the purpose of the Tower of Bab-El story was but one mysterious “X Marks the Spot” starting point, or elusive destination (I wasn’t really sure which). But as the manuscript finally finished writing itself, I was astounded to find a pattern of dots connecting our modern era to that which the citizens of Bab-El sought to attain.

So to those few fans of the first two volumes and to the many others I hope will explore my work, I offer up The Rod of Iron in the hope that even critics will accept it as a fascinating and surprising end to the journey that began with The People of the Sign.  It was my ambitious goal to generate, over three volumes, momentum leading to a crescendo worth the considerable effort needed to digest the vast internal and external territory covered along the way. I hope that by testing my outrageous hypotheses against historical events and modern science, and explaining intricate relationships using articles from Scientific American, Indian Legends, and official government websites, I’ve created a story as riveting as the unraveling of mysteries was to me.

It is my aspiration that after reading my trilogy you will never again view the universe, nor current events, nor the significance of your own existence, in quite the same way.  The Biblical Rod of Iron was prophesied to accomplish such a major transformation.  I’m not claiming that my trilogy fulfills this,   but it does unyieldingly encourage its readers to take an entirely new look at the Rod of Iron prophesied to be wielded by Christ at His return.  Please take a moment to cast your vote for my book and we’ll keep you updated on the progress toward publication.

QutbIron Inscription

The inscription on the QutbIron.

American Exceptionalism vs. Putin

American Exceptionalism vs. Putin

Does Vladimir Putin have a point about American Exceptionalism?

The idea that all men are created equal is a founding principle of the United States. Is the belief in American Exceptionalism inherently contradictory—or even dangerous?

Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks so. In his recent New York Times op-ed piece, he wrote that American Exceptionalism is “extremely dangerous” and that “we must not forget that God created us equal.”

American Exceptionalism is the view that the United States has a special role to play on the world’s stage because of its national ethos and provenance. Within this country, this view is prevalent. It is also balanced with the other principles upon which this nation was founded. Our Constitution has stood for a progressive stance on individual rights. We have become a world leader, in part, by embracing a sense of fairness for all.

So our national identity faces a fundamental dilemma today.

Why would I venture into discussing this topic? The People of the Sign is a kind of literary memoir recounting my life, much of which I spent within the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). The WCG under Herbert W. Armstrong was prosperous and growing, with a global reach and an astounding influence. And it was built on the idea that its members were divinely exceptional.

But the WCG was ripped apart by an identity crisis that crystallized under new leadership. Is this the fate of our nation?

That remains to be seen, but we can draw an important lesson from the WCG about American Exceptionalism.

One of the church’s fatal flaws was the hubris of Herbert W. Armstrong, his lieutenants, and many of the church’s members. While faith is good, and the book of Hebrews states that God rewards those who diligently seek him, we need to beware the mindset of divine superiority. Pride comes before the fall.

I am not a supporter of Putin. I find his comments both insulting and insincere. I was in Leningrad in 1991 during a coup by hard-line communists, which included the kidnapping of Mikhail Gorbachev. Boris Yeltsin then came into power, signaling the end of the Soviet Union. At the time there was certainly no dearth of Russian Exceptionalism. Yet their hubris led to ignominy on the world stage, and ultimately to the implosion of their empire.

In the wake of that collapse, the U.S. has been largely unchecked on the global scene. Today, some of the problems that confronted the Soviet Union during its twilight are in evidence here. And Russia’s recent geopolitical coup on the subject of Syria, followed by Putin’s comments, indicate that Russia feels the time is right to challenge the U.S.

When it comes to geopolitics and political strategy, I share in a sentiment recently raised in the media about this issue: Russia plays chess and America plays monopoly. We’re playing two different games, and at least in this Syrian crisis, Putin’s chess is winning.

Historically, Russian leaders have been the masters of gray, whereas U.S. leaders continue to define things in black and white. But what’s black and what’s white is changing. A belief in American Exceptionalism can easily work against finesse and diplomacy, which are much needed in navigating this predicament and an increasingly integrated world.

I do not reject the idea that God has a special purpose for the United States. But what is important to realize, especially for those who believe as I do, is that God also has a special purpose for every person on the planet. That includes the aggregate political entities that they are a part of as well.

To hold the idea that we are exceptional can be healthy. I have a five- and a two-year old, and they respond well to verbal encouragement and high fives. Yet I’m aware that this type of motivation needs to be balanced out with the teaching of virtues and spiritual principles like love, kindness, humility, gentleness, and respect for others.

A balanced approach that includes spiritual qualities worthy of a nation that claims to reside “under God” will lead to an American Exceptionalism that can stand the test of time. And the jabs of our enemies, like Vladimir Putin.


American Exceptionalism - two boys salute their respective flags

The Russians love their exceptionalism too