Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Not So Holy Spirits of the Church

Warning Christian Dogma Ahead!

The term spirit in paranormal circles is a little different from the term as used in Christian Systematic Theology. The term for spirit or ghost in the original ancient Koine Greek of the New Testament is the word Pnuematos, which literally means wind. It connotates an unseen power or force, and in the Christian Church it usually refers to the Spirit of God otherwise named the Holy Spirit. I like the old fashioned term Holy Ghost, it just sounds more mysterious, although I have never heard anyone speak of the Ghost of God. I think some people would be afraid of the Theological implications of that term.

But I digress. Pnuematos is not just limited as a term for an aspect of the Trinity, it is also used as a term for the unseen aspect of human personality akin to the soul. It also is used as the term for a disembodied entity or force that can harass or possess individuals.

In the Christian Church the Holy Spirit is the loving and empowering persona of God made real to the individual. Depending on the individual church’s doctrinal beliefs the Holy Spirit helps you to live a Christ like life or can empower you with supernatural gifts or the power of miraculous signs and wonders.

Funny thing is though, sometimes there is a spirit that embodies the congregation of a local church, but it is not the Holy One. I’ve been in a lot of different churches of various denominations. I’ve traveled all over the eastern United States in Christian drama groups and in special outreach teams to teach and council lay leaders of various congregations. I’ve had the opportunity to preach to thousands and to only a handful.

Sometimes you run into the oddest things…

I gave a Sunday Morning message to a church in upstate New York that had an odd reputation. The Saturday night before my speaking engagement after a dinner with a few fellow clergy, one local elderly pastor took me aside. He wanted to warn me.

“There is just something about that church.” He said, “Within the last five years they have lost two pastors to affairs with women in the congregation. And there have been three other church lay leaders who have been caught cheating with fellow congregants in the past few years as well.” I remember he grabbed my arm and leaned closer, “Watch yourself there, there is some sort of spirit at work in the congregation that seeks out church leaders and destroys them.”

I smiled at him and assured him that there had to be just some sort of coincidence, he shook his head as if I were a lamb going blindly to the slaughter and walked away. Later as I prepared for the next morning in my hotel room I laughed it off. You meet all kinds of people in the ministry and a lot of them can see a demon behind every bush.

The next morning the service went on fine with no eerie feeling or anything happening out of the ordinary or unusual. No one in the congregation fell asleep during my message, which is always a good sign. I stood at the back of the narthex afterward to shake hands with everyone and they all were glad that I was there and enjoyed the message. In the line there was one young lady in her twenties who was absolutely stunning. She was a beautiful curvy blond who’s looks movies stars would have envied. Her husband was definitely her equal in looks and style. As they approached they introduced themselves and shook my hand and that of the resident minister who stood next to me. As the young lady shook my hand she softly squeezed it repeatedly in a way that was provocative, with her middle finger swirling circles on my palm. As she did so she said with an overtly sultry voice, “I really enjoyed your message, I hope you can visit us again really soon.”

I sort of froze there, really creeped out. Then I gave the honorary smile and said thank you. She kept looking over her shoulder at me the whole time she was in the hall. It would have been unnerving had the elderly minister had not have warned me the night before. But because he did so, it was definitely a bizarre “Twilight Zone” moment. You could feel a presence there, an unholy spirit that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

It did not stop there though. I went to meet with one of the church’s governing board members at his home later that afternoon. As I drove up his 20 something daughter was sunbathing nude in the lawn beside the driveway. At first I thought I was mistaken and that it was a flesh colored bathing suit. But there was no mistake. Now they knew I was coming, so I doubt if it was accidental and that feeling was cemented when the board member had us seated by the window facing the lawn as we began to talk. I made it short and as I pulled out of the driveway I could not help but laugh at the pure insanity of the situation. It was like a bad B movie.

Some churches have unholy spirits abiding in their congregation. A lot of them are sexual it seems. I think it is because there is a lot of sexual suppression in the church, and it gives a gateway for manipulative entities to take control of normal urges and make them abnormal or obsessive. Is it mass possession? Generational? Those two families and the ones involved in the affairs with the church leaders were not related. A territorial entity then? I haven’t the foggiest. But sexual spirits abiding in Christian church congregations as a whole are not rare in my personal experience.

I served for a short while as an Assistant Pastor in a church that was infested with sexual predators and sexual problems. When I first started the person who had the position before me had this odd young man give children’s lessons in the morning worship. Within a few weeks I found out that he was a child molester. He had abused countless children in his extended family, many of whom attended this church. To make matters worse almost everyone at the church knew about this as, did my predecessor, yet they still allowed him to give children’s sermons! I was astounded. I went to the Executive Pastor because at the time the State law mandated that any such incident be reported. So I reported it to him as the law stated. His reply was, “Wow, I am not going to let him be around my daughter anymore.” And that was it! His family was prominent in the church and good tithers. So he pushed it under the rug.

The youth group at this church had many sexually active young teenagers and 13 to 15 year olds having babies. I used a seminary curriculum that I was trained on that step by step formed the foundation for a healthy self image then positive relationships between others and eventually responsible and healthy human sexuality. Everything was fine until I got to the human sexuality part and then suddenly there was a rumor going around the church that I was teaching the teens Sex Ed! We didn’t even get to reproduction yet! Their children were becoming parents right before their eyes and a sexual predator was teaching children’s church, but we could not even hint about morally responsible sexuality to the youth group without it being a major issue.

Finally I had enough and in less than a year I moved on to another church. Guess who they hired to replace me as Youth Group Leader? A young man who’s family was one of the pillars of the church. He had been a girls swim coach and gym teacher at a local High School until he was caught having an affair with a 16 year old student. The girl’s parents kept it quiet and did not press charges. But the whole church knew about it and welcomed him as the new leader of their young people. I never looked back and I have lost touch with the church, so I don’t know what eventually happened with this new Youth Pastor. I would wager the outcome would not be encouraging to rationally minded souls.

But not all unholy spirits that abide communally in a church are sexual ones.

I came to the church in New Castle Pennsylvania seeing it as a challenge. The church had been there for almost a hundred years, and had started as a small group in the early 1900s. From 1940 to the early 1960s the church had seen growth until the congregation was in the hundreds and the church building was always filled to capacity. When I came in the fall of 1993 the average Sunday attendance was 12. They explained that over the years people just didn’t want to go to church anymore. They described in detail how they had in loving care reached out to so many to bring them back. If only the other Pastors who had come before me were real men of God and took the effort, then the church could once again be filled. So I took the challenge. If there is one thing I have learned, if you let people know they are loved and accepted for who they are, then if there is any spiritual curiosity in their hearts they will seek it. If not, just be their friend.

Within a year the congregation grew to about 40 with attendances at Christmas and Easter over 100. That is where I met my friend who was a self proclaimed Satanist that I mentioned previously on this blog. He was the son in law of one of the church members and a former glam rock band member. He rocked pretty hard and taught me a few cords, when he showed up one Sunday I was glad- not because I had a Satanist at church- because I had a friend in the congregation. Gradually we had more people show up, but there seemed to be a problem. Not many came back. Even my glam rock friend. I came to find out that many of the initial 12 would point of the “sins” of these new guests and urge them to get their lives right with the Lord. Be it smoking, drinking, dancing or dating anyone who did…all of it was evil. And it was their duty as God’s anointed to make sure the sinners knew it. The pinnacle of this spirit of judgmentalism raised its ugly head in a board meeting. I’ve told this tale in the comments section before. We had a country and western family band attend the church for a few months. They offered to play in the morning worship. Now, to be honest I really really do not like country music. Well, except for Johnny Cash, he was the Man. But of course I was thrilled that they would offer and so I told the board this exciting news at the next board meeting. But the problem was, the board members attested, that they had played at a Country Bar a few years ago. That would send the wrong message. The church had to stand for something after all. When I told them that it didn’t matter if they had played in a bar the Saturday night before church we should still have them play, the Head Elder who was an old steel worker, jumped across the table with his hands sprayed out as if to try to strangle me. A verbal battle ensued which focused on who was holy enough to sing in church. I asked them how we were supposed to measure that. They gave a litany of things that would bar someone. Only those filled with the Holy Spirit could sing at church they said, someone who has consciously given themselves to God and is living a ‘Holy’ life. So I asked them, what about children? They are too young to make a decision about such deeply religious things, you can not verify that they are filled with the Holy Spirit. They thought about that for a moment. Then they made an official church ruling that children were no longer allowed to sing in the worship service. I held a vote, out of the seven of us only myself and an elderly Sunday School teacher voted against this ridiculous decree. That was the day I made up my mind to leave. The church had died because they had judged others and forced their views on guests instead of lovingly opening their arms and accepting those seeking spiritual growth. Even their own family members no longer attended.

Funny how my friend the self proclaimed Satanist was more Christlike than the Christians.

The most dominant unholy spirit in the church is the spirit of judgmentalism.

I could go on to other spiritual deficits that are obviously apparent to any, but you get the drift.

Are these just collective attitudes? I think they are far too destroying and powerfully pervasive to be just a collective blindness to moral equity.

There are spirits that hang over a church like a dark cloud. Sometimes you can feel them just when you enter the door. There is a lurking evil that thrives on destruction that manifests itself in so many negative ways. These communal spirits are just as dark, powerful and malicious as any demonic force that can harass or possess an individual.

And their deeds are more obvious.

I know a lot of you readers who dislike Christianity have been burned by the fire of these evil forces from the Pit of Hell.

I have too.

In these churches people might wear pins or have bumper stickers that say WWJD? What Would Jesus Do?, but in reality it should be WWSD? What Would Satan Do?.

At least then people would be actually doing what the phrase implies.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope


Julie said...

For about 8 months, I've been listening to several podcasts that deal with topics from the paranormal to end times discussions. This post you have written is fascinating, and reminds me of a couple of podcast episodes. They are about infiltration of the Church by people who carry evil spirits (a.k.a. Satanic Chosen Ones). The goal of these people is to undermine whatever church they are assigned to, whether through sexuality, infighting, or other means. Their plan is to insinuate themselves in the regular operation of the Church in order to get closer to their targets - the pastors, leaders, and the congregation in general. It's easy to dismiss these ideas, especially for people who don't believe in Satan, the power he possesses, or the fact that people can be influenced by him or his demons.

People also don't want to believe that something this sinister could be true. I had reserved part of my mind for this final doubt, because I ask myself "why would God allow these attacks on his Church?" After reading this post, my doubt is now gone. It now seems completely plausible that the situations you've written about are being caused by unholy influence. I feel that this is a confirmation of the warnings I have been hearing in my podcasts.

I don't know if you've ever listened to Preemption Broadcast before, but I'd like to share the links to a 2 part podcast on Infiltration of the Church. I'd really enjoy hearing your views on the podcasts after you're done listening, especially in comparison to the experiences you've had. [preemptionbroadcast_podomatic_com]

Thank you very much!

Aaron J said...

That was a very good post. I myself have gone to several different churches and have noticed things like what you mentioned. I haven't had the experience of anything sexual, but there are a lot of churches where the elders and pastors have egos and traditions the hold on to that are larger than the church itself.

The last C&MA church I attended before my current church (a Lutheran church to my surprise) had a serious issue with keeping a pastor on staff. The pastor at the time was very good, but unfortunately the old guard (and elders) at the church are extremely resistant to any preaching styles or worship music newer than circa 1950 and basically forced him to throw up his hands and say "I quit" after he had tried to bring the church into the 21st century. I called him at home after I heard that news and reassured him that he was one of the better pastors I've had.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Julie,

I've heard rumors of such societies for over a quarter century myself. I think the were part of a series of book by the Christian horror writer Frank Perreti, were they not?

I think most of what we face in churches is not organized by mortal hands but by the spiritual. I might be adding a second part to this post, I had a lot more material (as I am sure many of you readers do as well). It always struck me funny that the church is always overlooking gossip, slander and glory seeking as just as bad as any other sin the Bible speaks of. That to me is the sign of a spirit at work.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Aaron,

Your CMA pastor was a good man of standards. And you are a committed Pastor's dream. I pray you not only find a home but a fruitful field where everyone's souls can ripen.

I'd love to know which CMA church, I may have visited it.

Funny thing about those churches that refuse change, they all get old and die. Then perhaps they can be reborn with true love and acceptance.

I have found so many of my friends are refusing to call themselves Christians anymore. I like that. I love the term follower of Jesus. So many Christians follow Pauline influences and not the teachings of Jesus.

cryptidsrus said...

There are many, many demonic entities and Infernal Lords and Powers that specialize in carnal desire and lust. BAAL, the quintessential "false god" of the Israelites, caused them to forsake Moses and Yahweh for worship of him by having relations with lusty Moabite women. People who've read that part of the Bible know what happened next.
Moses had to go "Old Testament" on their behinds and started hanging and putting to the sword as many people as he could and enslaving their women and children at the command of Yahweh.
It is "nice" stories like these that make me dislike the Old Testament and prefer the New Testament. I'm sorry, but as "blasphemous" as it is for me to say it, Yahweh of the OT is very, very, very unpleasant. We all know this, even if we do not acknowledge it.

Anyway, to get back to the subject---

Moloch, Baal, and other of their ilk are particularly good at arousing lust in people. It takes a devout and sincere believer to resist their strong temptations. Glad to see you are one of those.

I'm sure your wife appreciates this as well. (Wink, wink).

That congregation that rejected anything "not of the Spirit" I refuse to judge. They simply look at things differently. They were 100% wrong and very anti-Spirit of the Lord, but hey, they're not evil---just "lost." Another congregation gained you. The first congregation's loss. All one can do is pray for them seeing the light. Good post, overall.

Teri said...

I would have argued with you until my last ABC (Amer. Baptist Churches) assignment. The Church at the time was 47yrs old and had been through 9 pastors (I was the 10th). All 9 were divorced while serving in the church and all but two had had affairs. Of the two that did not, their wives did. I was the 10th pastor. My husband had multiple affairs and our marraiage also ended in divorce. The 50th anniversary of the church, was the day the doors were closed and the congregation disbanded. Coincidence? Hmmmm. A different denominational church purchased the building and began with a congregation of 50 people, increased in size to 150 and built a new building over the foundation of the old church. The current pastor is in process of divorcing his wife. It does make one's mental eyebrows raise!

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Cryptidsrus as always,

With the second congregation, you just had to be there. It was oppressive. For brevity I did not include everything that went on. I don't think they were evil, or the other people and examples that I mentioned either. I would not classify these as possessions but rather severe influences. And I think the influence grows as people give into the spirits and it's like their power grows. At that second church I met person after person who felt so judged that many never went back to church. And every single family I brought in they were pushed away.

I wish my wife would have appreciated my faithfulness. Why I say I was burned as well is because she turned into a rabid fundamentalist and judged me for everything under the sun. She even thought the movie "Big" was sinful(They showed a woman in a bra). And we did end up having a divorce, which meant I could no longer serve in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. My Fundamentalist ex-wife had an affair with a colleague at work and after moving back home and telling her parents what a sinner I was for reading fantasy and sci-fi books and listening to non-Christian Rock and Roll she moved back to the city we were ministering in to live with her lover. Life is full of irony.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Teri,

Sorry for your obviously heartbreaking time. Been there.

I just wonder what happened at that site before that first church was built? Or if something just clung to the area after the first church was demolished. Time to have a ritual cleansing of the building it seems!

Hope and pray your ministry is going well!

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Aaron,
Yes I know the church. I didn't post the comment for general readership though just to be on the legal safe side for both of us. But your every comment is appreciated. I hope that the new name of the church means a new Spirit is there as well...

cryptidsrus said...

Pastor Swope:

I'm sorry about what happened to you. Life is indeed full of irony.

I once read of a guy who was developing a relationship with a woman who was some sort of child therapist or social worker. It had not advanced beyond the flirting stage but it was "getting there." One day she was talking to him over the phone long-distance and she asked if he could recommend to her a movie she could watch while she was away. He recommended the first Addams Family movie. She promised to rent it. Next time she talked to him she said "I just watched the movie and I must say I can't believe why anybody would watch it. I cannot date anybody who would like that movie. I can't see you anymore."

Maybe the opening scene with the boling oil and the children offended her. Maybe she just does not like Christina Ricci. Who knows?

Not quite religion-related, but it does show how people sometimes take personal beliefs and prejudices to an extreme. Not bad people, but extremist. But then, maybe they're right. After all, we all know Tinky-Winky is a secret Gay Icon, don't we, Pastor?

Hey, could be. Heh-heh-heh.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Cryptidsrus,

That time in my life was rough but eye opening.

It is funny how people judge movies without really opening their eyes. I have a friend who thinks the Lord of the Rings is satanic. Little did she know that it was Tolkien who was the religious influence to C.S.Lewis. I find the religious imagery in the Rings trilogy (Books and movies)is quite inspiring.

With this story as in life itself, sometimes all people want to do is look at the Trolls.

Catherine said...

Pastor Swope, you are so right. I have attended churches were things just didn't feel right and sure enough a scandal involving a pastor or youth pastor (in many cases)would manifest itself sooner or later. I left my old church after 15 years because I had sickening feelings about the new assistant pastor. He and his wife had adopted many older children and even though he never behaved inappropriately in public, I just knew he was evil. A few years later it hit the papers that he had been arrested for rape and gross sexual imposistion with three adopted daughters. He's sitting in prison now. On a personal note, my father was a Lutheran pastor who had affairs with several of his secretaries before my parents divorced. It's strange how the one place that is supposed to be a sanctuary from evil seems to be crawling with it these days.

Anonymous said...

May the Heavenly Father walk with you always. For a look at well documted evil within some churches see, which deals with the rape,torture and abuse of Native children held in church run schools.There hasbeen and still is a massive cover up to prevent the public from I'll betcha haven't heard that in June the highest levels of the Canadian ogovernment apologised to many high Native leaders, carried all day on National stations. Same situation here has yet to be adressed. CLOSE EXAMINATION OF THE FACTS STRONGLY SUGGEST NAZI TORTURERS SOUGHT TO ESCAPE PUNISHMENT BY HIDING IN SOME CHURCHES.EVIDENCE SUGGESTS MORE THAN RACISM MAY BE INVOLVED
It looks to me like some darkgroups have penetrated some churchs to destroy from within.

Teri said...

Thanks for your comments. It was a long time ago. That denomination didn't feel the love on having me continue with them. The seminary I was attending for my DMin, even though declaring it was a "scriptural divorce" decided I would tarnish their reputation if I graduated from their institution. Fortunately, God doesn't think the way we do :) I finished my DMin at a different school, remarried, and work as a Visiting Pastor (read hospitals, shut-in, etc) in a huge church that realizes that sometimes things just happen.

I do know that the church I served was built on to of a cotton farm field. We did pray for cleansing in the building and there did seem to be a change in the vibe - but, since many of the people that were there were original members...well, hearts aren't changed so the place doesn't change.

Ian said...

This is the first time I've commented on your blog and I just don't have the experiences that you or the good folks who have responded. Even so, I enjoy your blog entries. They are well written and I find them enjoyable. That is not meant to be demeaning as a lot of what your write comes from distressing experiences.

Once again thanks for sharing your life experiences in such an interesting way.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Ian,

Your comment doesn't sound demeaning or anything of the sort.

I have had my experiences of healthy Churches as well as the ones described here.
I am very glad you have never had any such experiences-they are distressing!

A lot of people have left the church or the Ministry because of things such as this. Some of them very talented men and women of God who had to take some time to heal before they re-entered church life.

I do encourage anyone who has experienced these unholy spirits of the church to NOT give up. There ARE some sincere, loving and understanding people out there in the Christian community. But as with everything else in life you have to search...and not be discouraged. You will find them where and when you least expect it.

Thanks again Ian! Feel free to comment anytime!!! They are appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Hello Pastor Swope,

Loved the post, and have been to some churches that almost exuded the "self-rightuosness" like a bad smell. The problem that I personally am experiancing is that while I consider myself a follower of Jesus, I do not feel comfortable in a church and I have been like that since my own father died. I cannot explain why, but even at my mothers funeral in a small chapell, I felt as though I was not welcome there. any thoughts?

Mojo Mom said...

Very well said. When I was a teenager, I went to a wonderful church. It was an experience that helped shape the very deep faith I carry today. That church grew into a mega-church with an empire that is still thriving. And where once my absence would be noticed and inquired about, now my prescence is barely noted. You can feel it in there, too. Something has gone wrong.

And though this church now has tens of thousands of members, the QUALITY of the congregation has diminished. These are the people that think their best clothes and large tithes will buy forgiveness for the unspeakable deeds done behind closed doors.

I alternate between disappointment and frustration at the bulk of society. And like many others, I have my reasons. But I still have hope. I've always had hope.

Currently, I don't belong to any one church. In fact, I haven't been to a service in 10 months. But that doesn't mean I'm not worshipping God daily. I just see Him at work in my life in ways too numerous to go into here. And once in a while, like an incident that happened last week, I feel the overwhelming Power of the Holy Spirit compelling me to do things that the selfish and angry person in me just wants to ignore.
But then, maybe it's not a special moment, rather just the voices in my head and I need to be on medication. I prefer to think it's God. :)

Pastor Swope said...

Hi Mojo Mom,

I think it's the Lord also. Sometimes it's good to take a rest after being in a dysfunctional church.

But you owe it to yourself and to those whose lives you could touch with your openness to God's Spirit to put your foot back in the water to test what it's like at another place at some point.

You might hurriedly pull your foot out if the water isn't right, or you might find the lagoon of peace that you have been yearning for. But you will not find it unless you try.

I've been there myself.

Misha said...

Hmm I've been reading and re-reading these blogs for quite sometime, and frankly I've been getting a little bothered when it comes to some of these blogs that are religious focused. I've been meaning to ask some questions for one, how many churches have you visited that may be infested and kind of churches are they as well?

Pastor Swope said...

Hi Misha,

I think I relate my experiences from 3 different churches here. But there have been more, but not with overtly dangerous spirits. Most common as I stated is the spirit of gossip or judgement. Sometimes mixed with a spirit of hate and pride. they are from Evangelical and Mainline churches. since I have done traveling tours to minister in various churches, I have been in hundreds, if not thousands of churches.

dave. said...

Unfortunately, I can relate to the experiences you've had concerning judgementalism in the church. I was once a member of a certain church that was filled with people who had grown up there. They seemed proud of the fact that they had almost never missed a church service for any reason and were always involved in anything that the church sponsored. These folks it seemed, had never swayed one bit. Never had they a sip of booze, played cards, dated anyone other than the person that they ended up marrying or used bad language. It's sad to think about but, I believe that some of these people may have thought that they were sinless. They certainly believed that they were in a position to decide wether a person was worthy or not to take a position in the church based on things that they had done before coming to the Lord. There was an instance when deacon elections were being held. A certain man who was on fire for the Lord Jesus and devout to God in all ways was openly black-balled by one of the church members based on the fact that the man had been a bit of a hell-raiser before coming to Christ. I just don't understand someone thinking this way if they really know what Jesus is all about.
This church is dead now. There have been countless pastors to come and go in the last thirty years but none has been able to bring this church back to the way it was when I was a child/teen. The reason I decided to respond to this blog with my story is not just because it is relative to what was originally said, I felt like sharing my experience might help to warn those who might be in a church where a parallel situation may be going on. If there are folks in your church who treat others as if they are there to judge them, take action but pray first. Then, talk to this person or people and base your converstion on what the Bible has to say about it all. Not only may this help save your church, it might also serve to wake up the people who are using their pride and self righteousness in place of actual salvation.
Thank You, Pastor Swope for the informative message. It has really helped me to realize that I'm not the only one to experience such things inside the church today. The enemy isn't just waiting on the outside of the church building, he's on the inside too!

dave said...

On another note concerning sexual misconduct in churches, I recall hearing an interview several years ago with an actual witch. This was not a wiccan, but a woman who claimed to have had meetings with the devil himself. In the interview, she told about how she was commanded by demons to move about the country and join churches posing as a christian in order to gain the trust of the people in the church. Her main mission in doing this was to try and seduce as many church leaders as possible, bringing the church down in the process. This person struck me as being authentic as she told things that only someone who spent a lot of time in the church would know about. She also told about how she and her fellow satanists actually believed in what the Bible taught. If you wish to hear this interview, it may still be up on youtube. It was one of Art Bell's classic call in shows from back in the mid-90's. I think it's titled, "Art Bell interviews Patsy the witch harlot" or something to that effect. But be warned and ready, hearing this may disturb you. This woman is either very demonized or is a very good actress. I have reservations about relaying this info to the people reading this but, I believe that christians need to know that this stuff really goes on. We are in a war people!