Current Events | A Glorious Risposte

A little birdie has sent me this wonderful comment to the left made by a gentleman (it is not my job, nor my place to shame people so he will remain anonymous) and it’s unsurprising. I really wanted to be done after my last post before the holidays, but that unfortunately can’t happen. This is meant to be a post of encouragement and warning at the same time. Christ told us “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you” (Jn 15:18, ESV) There is coming a time, soon, where this man’s sentiments will be the prevailing zeitgeist against all professing, true Christians. Anyone who professes salvation in Christ, being led by the Spirit, will be persecuted.

Now, I have heard the issues you all are having in your respective organizations, and I hear your anxiety and frustrations. I am not here to tell you it is going to be easy. Our King, while incarnate on this earth even told us it wouldn’t be easy. There will be many that think they can speak for our King, they can’t. There are many more that think they know what we as Christians are supposed to do, say and how we are to act (as you all have seen). They DON’T know this. What then do we say in response? What is our riposte to their unbelief?

The Lord has put everyone with a religious exemption using their faith in the Spirit and salvation through Christ on a pedestal for persecution and humiliation. Let this be your ministry just as I write to you now. Peter told us “Have no fear of them or be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to ANYONE [HR, Supervisor, vile coworker included] who asks you for the reason for the hope that in in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect

So what answer do we give? What defense is our hope?

WE GIVE THE GOSPEL

I know some of you may feel pressured to lie or to finagle your way out of it. Stand firm on your foundations! Peter also told us “That those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” Likewise Paul said he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16). We must realize we are coming to a point, and some of you are starting to feel the pressure, where we must stand for our King or the very mere mortal existence we have. Christ put it plainly that if we are ashamed of Him on Earth, He “will be ashamed of them when He comes in his father’s glory with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

Like it or not, when you decided to use your credentials as a servant of Heaven as an excuse (while valid) not to take this vaccine, God had a plan for you. That plan did not involve lying about your vaccine status when solicited rather, that plan was for you to spread the Gospel of our King.

If people want to jest or act like they know our faith, let them; however, give them a taste of what our faith is, in love. It’s not faith in men, politicians, corporations or science, it’s faith in an eternal God and Lord of creation, who came as a man to sacrifice himself as the final payment for our fallibility, that that God could finally spend eternity with his Creation once again.

The world will treat you differently, as an outcast, that I will promise. However, our Savior said it best, “Take Heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33, ESV)

The time is near, stand for Heaven. Soli Deo Gloria.

Current Events | A Divine Direction

I sit here to write this and I firmly grasp the world has been thrown into turmoil. I know that we are in a different place than we were even a year ago, and while concerning to see how the world is moving at record breaking pace, we now know we cannot trust in man. As I explained in No Terrestrial Help, we cannot continue to look to religious leaders to provide anything. We have been entrusted by God to follow His word and His Spirit. While the Church at large is biblical, it has largely failed and the body of believers have chosen to follow men, men which we are told are fallible (Romans 3:23), liars (Num 23:19) and deceivers in their religious pomp (Jn 8:44).

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Current Events | No Mortal Argument

Alright, everyone, this will be the end of the Religious Exemption articles (for now); however, I’ve had it with the constant revisions of questions these HR departments are putting out there. It would almost seem like they are purposefully trying to trap you all in a particular argument they think you’ll use. I’ll explain further down, but here is the deal, I have spent my last five years out of the military working my way up through corporate America; I have spoken to CEOs, CFOs, HR folks, and people at all levels. I understand how businesses function, and I will tell you something right now. Every person who will review your particular religious exemption is being trained, as we speak, on how to counter and trap you all in an argument that YOU CANNOT WIN. That’s right, you will not win it on the ground level or in court. Because not only are these people ready to deny your claim, they’ll make sure every mortal (not out of faith) argument you use is not only recorded but also dissected and ready to be turned over to a court to eviscerate you. 

Don’t blame them; as I quoted in the last post, our Adversary, the Devil, is like a roaring lion, and he is ready to pounce if you’re not prepared. God, rich in mercy, gave us a document with over 250,000 words and timeless Truth to prepare us for this moment. Take heart! For Christ has already overcome this obstacle. 

So everyone wants to know how to write the religious exemption. Well, below is the actual outline I’ve given to people to write their own, along with the answers to the questions presented on the form. I’ve tried to explain to the best of my ability in the prior two posts, but Christians are still scrambling to figure out how to make a solid argument based on science, philosophy, law, or politics. The problem here is, none of us are scientists or lawyers, or political analysts; however, I guarantee you that your companies have these people ready and waiting to rip apart your exemption if you use these arguments. A religious exemption is for your “Sincerely held beliefs” and your religious beliefs. Is Christianity about being pro-life? No. Are we pro-life? Yes. Our faith isn’t based on being anti-abortion. Is Christianity about governmental mandates? No. We may be against them because Christ has made us free, but it’s not about that.

Christianity is solely about Christ and the Gospel. As was written about in the second post, we have been given the Spirit to indwell us to perform the work God laid out for us both individually and His children and corporately as His church. Those arguments listed above are Mortal arguments. They are arguments on your company’s playing field; they can argue those easily and then chew you up and spit you out. Why not use an immortal argument? Something only we as Christians know how to defend, but at the same time, while upholding the faith, we can perform our primary calling of giving the world the Gospel. 

Below I will go over an ACTUAL form from a transportation company, and I will answer these, along with the process that should be used as a Christian when dealing with this. Remember first, do ALL things in prayer FIRST, and let your requests be made known unto God:

THE STATEMENT

First thing’s first, I recommend writing an exemption letter based on the following format. Even though I won’t offer a full-on template for this, I feel like this is the best way to present your faith and ideas. 

In the first paragraph, include your full name, employee ID (if applicable), and your position. Also have “I am exempt from this company’s vaccine mandate based on sincerely-held religious beliefs as codified in Section VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”

In the following paragraphs, detail your faith (It can be your church’s statement of faith, the apostlistic creed, etc.); just make sure it is what you actually believe. Like I said above, it’s better to not include ANYTHING about the vaccine itself, as these are human arguments meant to confound, confuse and defeat you. Make sure you have enough backup in these paragraphs to answer the exemption form in a holistic manner. 

In the last paragraph, refer back to the original statement of faith and give the answer, “Because of the direction and guidance of God through the Holy Spirit, I can not take this vaccine. This is my sincerely held religious belief on this manner.” It would help to include verses supporting these arguments; I will not give those out here because I want each of your exemptions to be unique. 

THE FORM

Alright, the magically changing form that we all know and love. How many times has this changed now? Three? Four times? Anyways, besides being a pain in my side, it’s no matter, they’re trying to trip you up on Human Arguments, and we’re not using those. So for anyone that thinks they can do this in their own knowledge and wisdom without God’s help, good luck, and may the odds forever be in your favor. 

Question 1: Please Identify your Sincerely-Held religious belief, practice, and/or observance that you believe conflicts company’s vaccination mandate. 

Your answer to this should be, “Please see attached file” or “Please see attachment 1”.

Question 2: Please state how your particular sincerely-held religious belief, practice, and/or observance specifically conflicts with the company’s vaccine mandate and describe the accommodation that you are requesting.

This is the only question that I cannot answer, nor will I try to point you to on this. I am not a lawyer and do not want to give out legal advice in any way. Please see appropriate counsel or other representatives to provide an answer to this question in the best way possible. 

Question 3: Have you received a religious exemption for any other vaccine requirements in the past three years?

This is funny, and this is what I mean. Someone who fills this outgoing off the handle trying to explain how this vaccine is different and using any type of conspiratorial ideas or reports they found online are going to lose. They WANT that to happen. Your answer here is simply “No.”

Question 4: Have you ever been approved for any other type of religious accommodation during your employment?

Have you? If not, put “No,” If you have, but “Yes” and explain in the simplest, concise manner as possible. DO NOT bring up any other arguments.

Question 5: Does the sincerely-held religious belief, practice, and/or observance identified in Question #1 prevent you from receiving other vaccines or just the Covid-19 Vaccine?

For those I’m assuming is just the Covid-19 vaccine, just put that in the drop-down, or answer accordingly. 

Question 5a: If your sincerely-held religious belief, practice, and/or observance prevents you from receiving only the COVID-19 vaccine, please explain why. 

Alright, so with this question, they’re already prepping you to answer this in a few ways (based on the following questions). If you continue down the road of “It’s an experimental vaccine” or “It contains fetal abortion cells” or “It’s my constitutional right,” I will reiterate, you will lose. They are prepared for this, and you nor I am a lawyer, a scientist, or a political analyst. What we are, are Christians, and they can’t argue with this information we’re giving. Give this answer “Per the statement of faith I provided in attachment 1, I am exempt from the COVID-19 Vaccine due to direction being lead by my God through His Spirit.” I can’t emphasize this enough, the LESS you talk, the BETTER. Always refer back to your statement that you uploaded; the whole point is to mount a defense if needed for court, don’t let them have that. 

Question 6: Are there other aspects of your sincerely-held religious belief, practice and/or observance related to receiving medical care?

I don’t know, are there? If yes, explain them there; if not, it’s of no consequence. 

Question 7: For how long have you had this religious belief, practice, and/or observance?

Put down how long you have been practicing your faith. 

Question 8: In preparing your requested exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement based on the above-referenced sincerely-held religious belief, practice, and/or observance, did you utilize a sample or template request provided by a third party (other than your regular place of worship), whether purchased or otherwise?

I love how they changed this question after my last blog post. They went from “did anyone help you” to “did you utilize a sample.” Like I said above, they’re really starting to irritate me. Listen, our job is to follow God’s commandments, and we should trust in Him in order to get through these things. If you did utilize a third party, IT’S OK; it happens. What their defense here is, they’re going to question why your clergy didn’t help you with it and therefore attempt to invalidate your argument based on what ANOTHER HUMAN DID and not what GOD IS TELLING YOU TO DO. 

Question 9: Since the age of 18, have you received any vaccinations. 

The whole idea of this one, and why they don’t want you to go into further detail is, they are waiting to see if you use the “Aborted fetal cell” argument. Since you’re here reading this, either you’ve anticipated it with me (You’re a smart cookie!), or you’re someone from HR going to change the form again (please go away).

This is also why they asked how long you’ve been practicing your faith above. They’re trying to measure you to perfection, which in the words of our Savior, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7, ESV). No one that has ever lived on this Earth is perfect, save one, and He is in heaven. It’s hypocritical, disingenuous, and slimy, and no one should have to go through that until they reach a judgement. 

Question 10: Since the age of 18, have you taken any pharmaceutical(s) (drugs), whether prescription or nonprescription (over the counter)?

Once again, guys, just say yes or no. If you were to use the “Aborted Fetal Tissue” argument, let them go through every single medication you’ve ever taken in 10/20/30 years. That will be fun to watch. 

However, we’re not answering based on Mortal arguments; as I’ve shown, they’re already prepared to give a defense for their mandate. Show them you’re prepared to give a defense for the hope you have in Christ. God speed to all.

For further comments, questions, or cease and desist letters, please contact me at michaelpircio2@mikepircio.com.

Current Events | No Earthly Mandate

To vax or not to vax, this is the question surrounding Christians everywhere. I’ve kept largely silent on this issue in public. Privately I’ve made my opinion quite clear. Speaking to Christians, I am going to say this, the action itself doesn’t matter. Just like any action we take, we must be honest with ourselves and with God. As the late evangelist and minister Ron Hamilton once said, “There are two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self.” This is the whole point of Christianity and the Christian life, we must wake up every morning and we must decide that we are going to do everything to please God or to please our flesh. 

So I will start here. Our primary command in life is to love God (Matt 22:37), and we love him by keeping His commandments (1 John 5:3). Before He left the Earth, Christ told us two things. The first was a promise, to send the Great Comforter (John 14:16), the Holy Spirit. Second, was a divine mandate, He commanded us to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every living thing (Matt 28:16-20). 

What does this tell us? 

Well, first in the book of Isaiah, God tells Israel something we all should keep in the back of our minds constantly, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘this is the way, walk in it’, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”(Isa 30:21) So because of this, we know that God directs us in everything we do that we might do them for His glory. 

Second, we know from the Great Commission, God’s plan is to lead as many to salvation as He deems necessary. Therefore, we can assess that anything we are told to do by the spirit is through His will and is necessary for the furtherance of the gospel. My fencepost position on the vaccine itself is this, it is a decision made (hopefully) through soul searching and prayer in following what God wants specifically for you. The passport and other things associated with that will be discussed later on, right now I am focusing on helping the academically and theologically weak church. 

We are coming to a point not only in Western Culture but also in Christianity itself that will give us the privilege and opportunity to stand for our faith. Realistically though, how do we do that? How do we go to an employer or the government and tell them here is my conviction? What do we do when we lose everything over our conviction? 

Standing for something is scary, especially standing for something when one doesn’t know the possible outcome. God wants you to stand for Him, as stated above, the point of being a Christian is to spread the gospel, and if you lose every earthly possession in the process that is God’s will. Christ on this earth told us specifically that if we lose everything on earth, we will gain our soul in heaven (Mk 8:36). It is easy to profess to be a Christian, it is easy to speak what God wants you to say and to follow rules, read the Bible and go to church. It is something else entirely when your livelihood and life is threatened. 

So what do we do? Do we deny Christ and the Spirit leading us and therefore deny His saving power or do we follow and have faith in Him. That is the choice ahead, is money, wealth and even food our concern or is following the only true God in defense of His truth and our kingdom of Heaven. 

When you go before your employer with a religious exemption, do not use mortal arguments about stem cells, or conspiracies or whatever, use the power of the gospel of Christ Jesus. Tell them that the Spirit of God Himself has directed you not to take the vaccine and that He is the one that should be listened to, not man. If a mortal argument is used, they can deny that a lot easier, than denying the gospel. 

See, 60 percent of the U.S. Still identify in some sort of way as Christian. For them to deny that God could be ministering in your heart, then they will not only face an identity crisis of faith but spiritual judgment. We have been warned we will be delivered up to government and kings for our faith, however, our arguments will not stand, the only argument that will is the argument that is given by the Spirit (Matt 24:9). That specific argument by and through the Spirit will always end up being the gospel. 

The same power of creation is the power of the gospel itself. Your testimony, the Gospel, and the Spirit will get you through this. Once again, I will warn everyone if you’re actually doing this for selfish or non-spiritual reasons, please do not use your testimony. It will only bring pain and suffering as that is not the will of God. So please, when you are faced with a decision do it in prayer and thanksgiving so the will of God may be known in your life.  Remember, let your answers to questions about this be “yes” or “no” whether this is to your employer or to your government. To all who read this, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all even unto the end of the age. 

Society’s Assumptions | Christianity = Spiritualism?

I was sitting with a friend the other day, whom many may define as a good person.  He told me “You know Mike, I’m not sure I could have gone through what you’ve gone through without your Spirituality, It’s a good thing you have it.” This is interesting, simply because I don’t consider myself a spiritual person. I don’t consider Christianity, God, Christ, good or evil spiritual things. I consider them just as tangible as you or I. The reason I believe in God is the same reason I believe in trees, or water, or the sky, no I can’t touch him, but I can see His work. I can’t hear Him, yet I can read His words. I can’t see him, but He knows where I go. 

Likewise, Christ was a real man. He is still God. Many of historians from antiquity have written about Christ and the Christians or “followers of Christ”, so I know He isn’t just a myth. The same can be said for good and evil. Human beings, since the beginning of time, have considered whether there is good and evil, and what that looks like. They question such things as “Are humans substantially more evil than good?”, “Can people choose good without a benefit?”, or my favorite “Why is there evil if there is a benevolent, all-powerful, diety?”. 

Dictionary.com gives us more modern interpretations of words and how they are used colloquially or in other words, as common words in  conversation. The site defines “Spiritual” in definition 6 as “of or relating to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature.” And I would have to agree in this use of the word, as many people, especially my age may define themselves as “Spiritual, but not religious”. As a Christian, I should be neither spiritual nor religious in my beliefs. If I define Christianity as a tangible faith, then how could either of those (religious or spiritual) bring me closer to my Creator? 

Neither of them can. Religion, is a system made of rituals and practices associated with worship. Christians should not practice religion. God doesn’t require us to sing or do anything except love him. As I went over in my love series, that means being the best ambassador of Heaven on Earth. We are to study about Him and read His word. We are to pray and talk to Him, just like any relationship, and we can embark on artistic ventures about Him if we want to, in order to worship him, such as music or artwork; however, if we aren’t talented like that, we should worship Him with diligence in doing “all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:13)

God doesn’t even require us to have corporate worship, we however are commanded to gather with likeminded believers as that encourages us in our faith, but that doesn’t mean we have to go to church. God requires a personal relationship with us first, and then by that relationship we will want to spend time worshipping and fellowshipping with other like minded individuals. 

So what’s the issue with someone calling us Spiritual? It seems harmless doesn’t it? It’s all about pluralism. Pluralism allows someone to serve two masters. It separates innate curiosity of the divine from the animalistic instincts that keep us from perfection. It allows us to follow man-made principles in satisfactory fashion allowing for our superficial concern over eternity to be quenched, but also allows for humanity to continue endulging in vices, questionable morals, and blatant rebellion without much consequence if any. People who are spiritual may believe in “God” as a higher power, but also subject themselves to eastern ideas such as Karma and Nirvana. They may even call themselves Christian, but when tasked with explaining their faith they can’t expound on it much more than being raised in a church. 

People who are Spiritual consider themselves good people, and they have a morality that they believe to be right; Christians on the other hand cannot consider themselves to be good people, because we know we aren’t deserving of the title as sinners.

The whole point of this blog is to pierce right through what the church has neglected in so many years. Churches have gotten hung up on being “Spiritual” focusing on music, worship teams, and nice messages about how being good will please God, and following God’s rules make you a good Christian. As Christians we really need to take a stand against what society thinks of us and correct them. We are not spiritual, we simply serve a very real being who cannot be seen because of His holiness, who cannot be touched but can change lives in a very real way, and cannot be heard but has written down His word in a guidebook for our lives. 

We are Christians, because we follow the Son of the being, known as God, who was sent to tell us exactly how His Father thinks, as He and the Father are one. We don’t follow Him because of His good ideas, or His compassion, or His Death. We follow Him because He is God. 

Out of all this, the takeaway is Christianity isn’t spiritual, it’s not religious, it’s faith; a faith that is very real based on personal experience with a divine being who reached out to choose us to love Him and follow His plan on this Earth. While other religions espouse that they received their words from angels or men, We and our Jewish brethren are the only ones who can say we’ve received word directly from God himself. 

We are Weak

Humans are meant to go through pain and suffering. As much of a terrible thing, that is to say, we are imperfect beings living in a perfect reality, with perfect laws. Moreso as Christians, we ought to remember that we will feel pain, sorrow, and sadness. We will be weak because our Father in Heaven expects us to continue on in His perfect peace.

In Proverbs 6:6 we are told to “Go to the ant, you sluggard.” The Ant toils away no matter the pain, the cost, or the stress. It doesn’t stop for anyone or anything (as many of our kitchens can testify to). We are not meant to become lazy or to avoid pain. Pain is necessary to rely on God.

When we look at pain, and stress, and trials we tend to want to just ignore it. The pain is a lot to bear. However, Paul writes in Corinthians that our realization of our weakness and selfishness is necessary to becoming not only a better Christian, but having an “easier” life over all.

We are always told that God does not give more than we can handle, and that is false. God always gives more than we can handle, because He wants us to give it to Him to handle. While Paul prayed to Christ to take away a burden, and the final answer he received, is the answer we all knew from the beginning of our Salvation. “My grace is sufficient”.

As quoted last week, “He will put him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” But why does He trust in God? Because He knows that God’s “Grace is sufficient” throughout all life’s troubles.