Brazil (and…) elections

Tomorrow we fly back to Europe. I have a few hours gap and with the Brazilian presidential election tomorrow night I have a few minutes to write and put up this video extract together with a comment regarding the church, this election and the wider issue in country after country. This election in Brazil is important, but it is important as a sign that the country has entered a very important season. The election is the sign… the challenge is for the body of Christ to participate in the season that is opening up.

I spoke into a conference in Brazil by Skype back in 2015 and spoke about a number of the things that have taken place since that date… That input was videoad and put on YouTube (not the video below). Crazily two of the presidential candidates in the earlier rounds used material directly from that input in their campaigns! Using it to manipulate votes… I understand they were Christian candidates or at least seeking to gain the Christian vote. The video below is from the recent few days. In it I seek to expose the major flaw in why the (normally) right wing strong law and order candidate is pulling the Christian vote. The serious nature of this is not whether they are the right / wrong or better candidate but the error that change comes top down… Much more to say on this, and this is not a comment about right / left politics – the extremes on both sides are experts at ‘biopower’, eating up lives in the process. There is though a major deception that is being exposed at this time, that of the understanding of power and the selling out of the church to the power paradigm. No surprise that with 22% evangelical the church of Brazil has still not shifted the presence of the occult. Thank God for the MANY and growing number of those who are clear on this.

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15 thoughts on “Brazil (and…) elections

  1. That is very powerful and just wow so much to think about!! I love the way God works with us or as you say compromises with us and underpins us when we get it wrong – see it in my own life in all the mess. Praying as you say that all the seeming toxic changes in the world will somehow be redeemed. That we will walk into that servant based true authority that will lead to redemption.

  2. Thanks Martin. Really good to hear that message. I am struck at how becoming more like God, loving the world does not include trying to manage, control or change those around us to conform to our morals. And it means compromise and working to see people released from whatever holds them back. I do that daily in post secondary education really. I deal with young people who struggle with all manner of mental health issues though anxiety, crippling anxiety is often the most common. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have either re-assuring young men and women that they can do what needs to get done, that I will show mercy in the classroom (yes, we actually had a conversation about mercy in the classroom) and that I will enable them to get to where they need to go. I also have conversations about the future, what they face with climate change, and how they can move forward into that with confidence to make a better world.

    You might think, wow, she is doing exactly what she should be doing. And every term I get in trouble somehow with the admin who believes power comes from the top down. It can get very, very frustrating. Much of the conflict comes from those who see the institution as a source of their power and wealth. That is a corruption that harms all.

    It is also clear that Brazil appears poised to follow the US in electing a ‘right wing’ strong man backed by evangelicals in a strong way. Interesting how the corruption in the evangelical church in the US has definitely been exposed through that action. And, as you say, the same is and will happen in Brazil. At least any confusion on the stand by the church is made clear in these situations. And that frees up people to move forward and choose otherwise.

    I am a 61 year old single woman and there are days I really fear the chaos. And there are other days when I see the exposure of the corruption and rot and the rising up of new visions and new ways of doing things where I absolutely embrace the chaos. Change is coming, change is here. We get to determine what that looks like.

  3. You know, the charismatic movement and evangelicals have had their own authoritarian streak for a long time. In the earlier charismatic movements – into the 70’s and beyond, for all the house church stuff, there emerged the ‘shepherding’ movement based on top-down leadership. This continued with the development of the mega church. These mega churches may have the appearance of more dispersed leadership through house groups etc but they are most often led by a ‘strong man’, the prophetic or apostolic voice who may have established the church and becomes identified with it. It would be natural for several generations of church-goers, saturated in a context of authority based in a single strong man and his vision and voice to desire that politically. If they have not questioned it within the church they won’t question it outside of the church.

  4. Thank you one and all… just a few hours to go to the results. We have not been to Brazil in 9 years, did not choose to come on the election weekend (we leave tomorrow). We came to see where things were at – do we have any input here. Both the most scary time when looking ahead and the most encouraging. Tomorrow we are taken to the airport by our longest standing connection here in the city. He leaves to pick up a new car. Always for us a sign of a new mode of transport… into the world. His last words to us this morning was – always when you have come this has been significant. You have left a mess. That, he said, is good.

    We leave with hope…but what a long journey they have. The attack of the ‘devil’ is to strengthen, not pull down, the top down authoritarian approach.

    1. Well, now we know Bolsonaro won. My concern is that he is not the ‘Trump of the Tropics’ as many call him. Far from it. He is a former military man who has already said he will give cops the license to kill. He is really another Duterte, the guy from the Philippines. And that is just scary. Your friends in Brazil are in for a rough ride, unfortunately. The story of Brazil shows how truly difficult it is to move to a democracy or non-authoritarian govt after years of authoritarian rule. Very tough to do.

  5. Great article Martin – kindness of God is King!!!! Interesting God gave David authority Saul had the ‘power’!!!! The authority rested on a shepherd boy on a hidden hill with a bag of smooth stones… The dominating power seems to sit on the surface like a flash flood – yet the authority rooted in the land goes deep in knowing the Creators love and takes out fears giants in one hit!!

  6. Hi Martin and everybody. I knew you in 2006 in Campos dos Goytacazes RJ Brazil.

    Bolsonaro won, and he was choosen by the people of Brazil by a democratic vote, but there is a lot of Brazilian that has him as a non-option. I was talking with some friends today that he just won because he is different of what we have since 2003 (first year with Lula as president). Our country, unfortunately, is jammed in corruption, we have the biggest oil company of the world and also is one of the most indebted, the amount of people that dies everyday in our country is huge, cops dies out of service just because they are cops, there is the corruption among the cops too, bad education, bad hospitals, our cities into darkness, violence like “normal” thing in our lives, we leave having time to get out of our homes because of violence, there is more than 14 million unemployed people this year, it was the biggest since they started to measured this. The Brazilian people only want to try something new. Brazil already lost hope in politicians. The victory of Bolsonaro was a desperate shout of Brazilians for help, not because he will save or change something, it is more than clear that he is the most unprepared candidate of all that was in the race, so, what do makes him win? I am not saying that he is the saviour… What I am saying is that is a great opportunity for the Brazilian people understand that there is only one way to make the things right and perfect, and this way is through GOD’s love and mercy. So, I have a lot of hope for the season that comes, not because of Bolsonaro, but because of the opportunity, and what I am asking GOD is that we (the body of christ) can do our part by praying and changing everyday our lives giving it to JESUS.

    Thats what I feel. God has done great things in many lives even when we are passing for hard times, preparing and making our visions clear to what is about to come. I believe in what Martin said, the change must to come from inside, and I think that this is a great opportunity to fight for this happen. God want that Brazil changes and become a country with a diffenrent mark…

    GOD Bless all.

    1. Hi Vicente
      Thanks for the Brazilian input… very valuable and appreciated. When there is a choice of candidates and one is ‘bad’ and one ‘badder’ (sorry for the bad English) the choice is difficult. And given the levels of corruption in Brazil!!! Spain is bad but Brazil is considerably worse for corruption.

      Regardless of the election if the response can be of the body of Christ being purged of corruption and oppression then standing for the future…

      Sadly I met a few who should have known better who were suggesting that Bolsonaro’s approach was from heaven. I met others who voted for him because of issues such as you raised above. That I can understand. Thanks for the comment. Thanks for the comment.

  7. I’ve been following and have contributed to this thread but it raises a new question for me upon reflection. The argument is that Christians should vote for the less bad person but not vote for the wrong reasons – looking for political power mainly. And that such behavior reveals corruption inside the church that has to be dealt with. The troubles that come with a vote for an authoritarian leader give us a chance to see more clearly and make corrections. I see that as the gist of the argument.

    Okay. But why should non-believing indigenous people pay the price for church corruption? Why should other species go extinct because the church and Christians are trying to figure out what/who they worship? Why should the poor, migrants, minorities be martyrs to the dysfunction of the church and believers?

    In many cases authoritarian leaders cater to the religion on their midst whether Catholic, Protestant/Evangelical, Hindu or whatever. They often align themselves and make promises to the religious leaders in an effort to gain power. And then everyone else pays the price, women, minorities, children, other species, the land. My question, I guess a theological one, is why is that okay. Why should the rest of the planet pay that price?

    Maybe it all gets sorted out. Maybe the church/believers repent and move on. But I’ve seen precious little evidence of that historically. One need only look at the Catholic response to child abuse in its ranks. Wouldn’t it be better for those of us who are bothered by this behavior to leave. . . vote with our feet? That way the institution, whether local or not, is deprived of our presence, volunteer efforts and money. We can then put our time and money into securing life on this planet. A new report by the UN gives us 2 years to secure biodiversity for the planet or we insure our own extinction. 2 freakin’ years! I say, who cares what the church and believers are doing. Let them play their games. There are far more important things that need doing here if we actually love life.

    If the institution to which you have given time and money is revealed as incorrigibly corrupt. Get out. Do something useful with your life. The planet and everyone on it needs you more than the corrupt institution does. And if you seek and find freedom from it, then others who know you might be inspired to take the leap and do the same. The situation is dire so why would we hang around wasting precious time? Just wondering. . . theologically, how we justify all of this.

    1. My reply: OUCH!!

      My tentative take is that believers have a primary responsibility as (theologically) we are to be a priesthood for the world. Into that of course we have to ask what is a believer. It is not that only the church mucks up or only through the church can something happen – after all Cornelius is described as a person who fears God and does what is right. What does it mean to fear God? He was in a Jewish culture and his fear of God was defined in that way.

      If my approach of body of Christ as priesthood is close to being on the ball then it is important to get a shift there. Of course the Jewish nation stood in the same way to the world, lost that perspective, and were judged. We cannot close the door to that possibility.

      So the OUCH remains and no deep justification forthcoming.

  8. If church and body of Christ as synonymous then leaving the institution isn’t leaving the church (at least as God sees it I suggest) more a re -positioning. check out any time you like, but you can never leave (probably inappropriate song link depending on your theology- recently suggested as the brexit theme tune!). Perhaps re-positioning is what has been happening and needs to happen. I think the body of Christ is out there and involved and praying, just not so visible as the institution bit.

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