By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
Most American readers of the February 2013 Charisma magazine are being introduced to Faytene Grasseschi, the evangelist and sometime Canadian activist, for the first time.
If you share Faytene’s conservative views, there’s much to like. She is actively pro-life, and works on many issues deal to the heart of conservative Christians.
She can have some insights when she teaches, and her own holiness probably puts any righteousness I may have to shame.
She is a regular subject here, but I can’t fault freelance writer Anthony Petrucci, who wrote the cover story and accompanying sidebar for the magazine. At first glance, there seems many things to like about what she does. But if you read it all, it’s clear that Charisma has made an editorial decision to like Faytene.
A smiling Faytene on the cover probably clinches that idea.
What would perhaps be useful is to put all this into some context. [This counts for me too. I always try to mention things that I appreciate about what she does to put what I may write into context too. I try to apply my rules to myself.]
Let’s begin to look at the cover story together.
If it is no longer handy at your local Christian bookstore, I can direct you to the Charisma website where you can read it there. That said, the labourer is worthy of their hire, so I bought print copies for myself.
As I noted in my introductory post on all this, editor Marcus Yoars in his column credits Faytene and her followers with “not only calling for righteousness but walking in it.” Well, he has reasons to like her, but this would conflict with any attempts by Faytene to stay grounded and humble. Wouldn’t touch anything like this with a bargepole if I were her.
Don’t want to dwell on this, but Faytene has been known to go into the corners of the rink with her elbows up as documented here and here. But then, I (and other bloggers) would be the type of person who would have nailed Christ to the cross, according to one evangelist who comes to Mind, so what Do I know? Slapping my opinions all over the place, that is a hobby of mine.
The story attributes the passage of MP Joy Smith’s human trafficking legislation to Faytene’s role in “moving legislation”. She may have been helpful–she gave Smith mike time at The Cry Vancouver to promote the idea–but the odd thing continues to be that Smith doesn’t herself credit in public MY Canada with helping to pass the legislation. Nothing that I could find with a Google search anyways.
[And it should be mentioned that there is more "success" with this legislation than with abortion as the latter issue is much more politically radioactive. But success with the latter issue would be a surer measure of Faytene's ability to push for what she and her friends want.]
Petrucci doesn’t seem to notice that most of the social conservatives are Tories and that as a result, Faytene sometimes has problems realizing that the interests of Canada’s governing party are not
necessarily her own. And the ability to see so many MPs and Senators may be less due to having “favour” than to adept use of the strategy of having one of her friends ask to visit their MP and bring some of their friends, like Faytene. Grasseschi has talked about using this idea and noted that it would be political suicide if it got around that you refused to see someone from your riding.
Lou Engle, described as “a mentor and spiritual father” to Faytene, says that her call to prayer and fasting has caused “visible change to take place.” Not to be a party pooper, but…such as?
Engle also lets slip a word to those in the know. He describes Faytene as “contending for righteousness at the gates of government and culture.”
Why this language and not something like “contending in the areas of, or “contending in”? He needs to blow the dominionist dog whistle by using that phrase, as “possessing the gates of the enemy is a phrase used by that movement as described by this site here. They write: “The importance of Abraham’s descendants possessing the gates of their enemies is found in the hope of Israel becoming a kingdom of blessed people who could bless all the nations of the earth.This has always been the goal of God’s kingdom and the Dominion Process.’…” [Near the art of this piece, the author had explained: "It assumes the influence of the church will increase on earth until Jesus returns.This view stands against some opposing views which see the influence of the church waning in the last days....It does not intend to imply absolute dominion, as in a sinless earth, but a preparatory dominion, as in the earth being prepared for the return of the King."]
The idea of “honouring” those she lobbies, something Faytene tries hard to do, is something that is cited strongly in the cover story, with a friend of hers, pro-life MP Rod Bruinooge arguing that she doesn’t complain about what the Tory government is or isn’t doing. I appreciate her efforts to be gracious in this regard, but wonder about her ability to “speak truth to power”. Her friendliness to the social Conservatives among the Tories, as noted in the post linked above might blind her to Tory flaws from a strongly conservative point of view. As the sidebar to this story addresses her political “success” directly, my earlier post on that alone might have some additional insight on that question.
I wonder what her political friends might think of her disdain, when it comes to politics, towards “accusation and petty debate.” “Petty debate” comes pretty handy in any democracy, and you let the other side have their say too, wrong as you might think it is.
Faytene’s mention of a “new breed” may be a dominionist code word.
Speaking “in the right spirit” when you do speak up, is certainly good to aspire to. But I do wonder, in the preceding clause, when she says “We will never hold back from speaking truth…” whether she has ever taken the federal Tory government to task in public for anything? You could do so very nicely, but when has Faytene done so?
Continuing on, Faytene cites a 2006 rally at Parliament Hill in Ottawa which resulted in “an e-mail from a prominent MP’s office” thanking the rally goers for seeking to bless and not complain. Nice, but who was the MP and don’t read it too fast, or you will think, erroneously, that the MP themselves wrote the e-mail. [And has anyone every independently ascertained that Stand On Guard was a "best-seller" and sits on the bookshelves of the majority of Canadian Senators and Members of Parliament" ?]
Ted Baehr is quoted talking up The Cry Hollywood (several posts on that here), which although filled with good intentions, was centered on a possibly winky interpretation of Hollywood’s past.
And Baehr is quoted as saying “…We have to go and take the territory.” Also, Christians “need to never, never, never retreat again.” Dominionist, anyone?
The author sees a need to explain that “taking may not appear as violent as it sounds…” leading to an anecdote where two workers in the pornography ministry were ministered to at the event.
If Petrucci saw a need to argue “Hey, this is not as scary as it sounds”, I understand why, given that Charisma is editorially disposed to like her.
But there is a way to address this. Evidently, there are tips in this piece that suggest that at least Faytene’s friends are dominionists. Why not address the issue directly?
[Quick aside, Faytene has been noted as asking for approval of her quotes by reporters. Did she have vetting rights over those, or this story?]
There is a way to do it, if you like the person. It would read something like this, perhaps.
“Hypothetical Faytene is often asked if she is a dominionist, someone who uses violent sounding language like A, B.C. in the name of…”
[That would be handled very briefly and succinctly while her reply is given more, if not much more space.]
“Oh no, says Hypothetical Faytene, I think dominionism sucks and let me spend at least several sentences explaining why…”
Petrucci, though, had to acknowledge that his readers were wondering. I would have suggested addressing it head on, but that is just me.
Next is a section of her personal background, including being healed of a life threatening disease and her ministry in Liberia which lead her to refocus her ministries on leaders who could shape nations. [This change is mindset is something she has talked in detail about a few times, and I address it in the first item--her address to Toure Robert's church in this post here.]
After some notes on her pro-life activities, and how Faytene seems to be raising up other young people of like mindsets (according to Faytene’s former pastor Bill Prankard), Petrucci reveals that her next big initiative will be a TheCry in Israel in August, to be broadcast by GOD TV.
Faytene is quoted as saying that she and her friends “are on a journey of reforming our culture” which leads Petrucci to conclude “…it’s clear the reformation has already begun.”
Well, what to make of this? Some comments to finish up.
I empathize with Anthony Petrucci, the freelance wfriter, who did the piece. It is difficult to be a reporter and not a stenographer when the editors you are working for like someone enough to put them on their cover.
As I made sure to note at the start of this piece, Faytene can be admirable in some ways at some times if you share her politics. At face value, it would be easy to assume that what you see is what you are getting, yet nothing to my knowledge shows that Faytene doesn’t try very hard to follow God faithfully, according to what she thinks is best.
And speaking of personal experience, I myself have written on people only to be badly burned when things turned out to not be as they seemed. Sometimes, you just don’t know and have to do your best with what you know at the time. Sure, I might be able to contextualize this story somewhat, but I come at this with different knowledge due to a different point of view.
I wouldn’t say this is very inaccurate as far as it goes. But that this is rosy-hued would, in my opinion, be a valid point of view. This could mislead.
If in doubt, check it out. Being a Berean can usefully apply to both magazine articles and blog posts.