What an uncanny and ironic turn of Providence it was that my hour of desperation coincided precisely with the relocation of Alex’s (Mexican) family from L.A. County to the remote desert town of Hemet. Hemet was then only a sparsely populated retirement community – WWII and Korean War generations who had themselves fled L.A. County to escape the demographic collapse. I was running for my life from an Aztlan stronghold with a bounty on my head in the company of illegal immigrants en route to resettle in a White enclave. The irony. And the hypocrisy.
But riding through the desert swelter in the backseat of his parents’ little rust-riddled car with one duffle bag left to my name, I prayed God that He forgive me the weakness of my sin; that He would rescue my siblings and my grandmother, because I could not; and again, my constant refrain – that He would grant me understanding of all these strange vicissitudes that I might serve Him with a clean heart. I wept bitterly all along the way.
Like Alex, his family was an affable bunch. Naturally gregarious, as is common of Mexicans, but generally lacking the usual ostentation and violent tendencies.
Alex was shortly enrolled in a new high school in Hemet, but as I once again was left no legal guardian and was still in hiding from the Mexican Mafia, I could not be enrolled. His parents were typically gone all week, returning home only on weekends. Thus leaving the house to me. Once more, I effectively lived alone. But I shortly took a job working under the table at a local pizza joint to pay my room and board. On days I didn’t have work I invariably felt so distraught on account of my estrangement from family and worry for my siblings that with a canteen of water, a bit of food, a .22 rifle and, of course, the pocket knife Poppa gave me, I would trek off into the desert to pray for a day or two.
Meanwhile, Alex’s social alacrity won him the friendship of the school’s water polo team, which was all White. I began hanging out with them some nights. Though I could not for months be roused from my stoicism, the guilelessness of those wild desert White kids drew me out. In spite of everything, I could relate to them. We drag raced through the desert nights. We sparred. We hiked the hills and canyons. We sang out loud under the stars. I began to laugh again.
But my revelry in having found another momentary haven just in time to enjoy a fleeting adolescence is forever emblematized in my mind by a girl, Yvette. Though I was a Christian and she a heathen, at age sixteen, and absent the corrective hand of a father, I drowned my memory in the excesses of the present.
However, the season of that rebellion was short-lived and came to an agonizing halt for the very reason that this beautiful girl exhibited no sense of shame at our sin. She would hear nothing of the gospel, our very real need of a savior, or the command of God, all of which I had fallen so miserably short. Nor would she speak of marriage. At length it became clear that her every design was to pull me further from Christ. I lay awake grappling with the words of Solomon:
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. (Proverbs 6:23-27)
So again, I struck out on my own. But knowing little else, I returned to my hometown, the very place from which I’d fled in fear for my life. A friend put me up in a guest house while I looked for work, and out of an irrepressible need for the solace of God’s presence, I returned to the Brethren church in Orange County just in time to sign up for a winter mountain retreat. At seventeen, and on my own, I still had no guardian, but the youth pastor struck me a bargain – if I did some work around the church over the weekend and just showed up with my bags on the morning of departure, no one would enquire if I’d had my paperwork signed.
Disembarking that bus high in the San Bernardino mountains, I stepped into a winter wonderland. The crisp alpine air was exhilarating. Though it was the first time I’d ever seen snow, I felt strangely at home. That sense of proper environment hinted to me of divine Providence having tailored my own constitution in keeping with the generations of my forebears come long since of like places.
In spite of what I saw as their spoiled naivete, and their fawnings over Black rapist-murderers which had driven me from their company years prior, the worship of Christ the King there amongst my folk (impaired as they were) in a place which looked and felt very much like a primordial home to people such as us was a balm to my soul and strength to my bones. I could not help but see the teleological synergies between all these things as mutually supportive and reinforcing.
That’s when the youth pastor who had bent the rules to get me there introduced me to Roy. Aside from a scrappy Popeye-like appearance, in every other aspect, Roy reminded me of Mr. Rogers. His overly kindly demeanor made me rather uncomfortable simply because I was not accustomed to the scrutiny of an adult’s undivided attention. But he told me he ran a Christian transition home for young men out of his house in Long Beach, and he offered me room and board for $100.00 a month. The only stipulations were that I had to attend church every Sunday and Bible study at least twice a week. But not to worry, Roy operated his own private shuttle service to take kids back and forth to church, and he held Bible studies in his living room six nights a week. He also bought every child in his sphere of influence a quality study Bible, and showered them with study materials every chance he got. His library seemed to all his visitors like the famed library of Iona or Alexandria. Roy’s house was a self-contained L’Abri institute, the halls of which were completely papered over with wallet-sized photos of all the young men who had stayed under his roof over the years. Literally thousands.
Though he had been engaged twice in his life, Roy had never married; and upon reaching a certain age, he concluded that it just wasn’t going to happen. So, as he explained it to me, he had taken the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to heart – that if he was to be a eunuch, it would be for the Kingdom’s sake, freeing him up for the Lord’s work.
Though he would never speak of himself in such terms, Roy was a lay minister of the first order who labored more earnestly, continuously, and efficaciously for Christendom than perhaps any other I’ve met to date. Though he maintained membership in an institutional church, Roy’s ministry was completely oblique to the institutional church. And self-funded. I would later come to understand him to be, if not an appointed elder, nonetheless a natural elder-judge unrecognized by the fallen institutional church. He demonstrated with his whole life the doctrine of interposition.
A meeker fellow than my grandfather, Roy yet echoed Poppa’s reservations with respect to the graphed and pie-charted do-gooder churches which stood all the concerns of the Kingdom on their heads. Like Poppa, he saw the demographic displacement of White Americans by violent foreign races as recompense for our own faithlessness.
Though he did not speak in what I would later come to know as Reformational vernacular, Roy was every bit a son of the Reformation. Albeit under different terminology, he imparted to me the doctrines of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as taught in the Scriptures alone. So too did he preach Providence, election, vocation, and calling. You might call him “a Calvinist born out of time.” It was there under Roy’s roof that I first interacted with the writings of Oswald Chambers, Francis Schaefer, John Bunyan, John Milton, A.W. Tozer, and many other cross-over writers on the outskirts of Reformed theology.
So at age seventeen when I took a seasonal job moving furniture, and crossed paths for the first time with a self-identifying Calvinist working on the same crew, I was in for an epiphany, and an infuriating one at that. A cage-stage Calvinist if ever there was one, this fellow, perhaps only two years my senior, proceeded to interrogate me on matters of doctrine with equal measures of clear thinking and naked contempt:
“Is God all powerful?”
“Congratulations. You’re not as dumb as you look. Then, who can stop His plans?”
“Are you sure you’re not a Calvinist?”
“Sorry, I’ve just never heard that term before …”
“You’re kidding! Alright then, if no one can stop His plans, who did Jesus’s death pay for, the regenerate, or the unregenerate?”
“The regenerate, I guess.”
“Congratulations, [email protected], you’re a Calvinist.”
On it went, just like that, with me answering his interrogatives in agreement with him, only to be insulted over and again for it. As much as I may have wanted to pummel him, I could not disagree with him. I was, in fact, a Calvinist. I wasn’t really sure that I’d ever been anything else.
While I was not yet eighteen, a friend from church arranged another under-the-table job for me closer to home. It was at an animal-grooming shop. A young kid with a strong back and a weak mind, they appointed me the handler of all large dogs. But in a shop full of lesbians, I was resented for being the only one physically strong enough to control an aggressive Rottweiler or bull-breed.
Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t bare feminism or misandry which lost me the job. I was fired after accompanying the owner to a kennel to pick up a vicious dog for cleaning. Meaning only to be polite, I asked her about herself, and she told me she was an Israeli and a practitioner of Reform Judaism. Reciprocally, when she asked about me, I explained that I was a Christian. A look of nervous incredulity came over her face as she asked if I really believed what was written in the Bible. When I replied that I did indeed believe God’s Word, her look of incredulity was replaced by open disgust. She fired me as soon as we returned to the shop, and without explanation. But I knew it had to do with her revulsion at my faith. My first personal experience with a Jew, and a decidedly negative one, it called to mind Poppa’s commentary on the Jewish lawyers who had twice destroyed his business, and his relay to me of my great-grandfather’s explanation of an ongoing Jewish conspiracy against Christendom which had brought all the major wars of the twentieth century.
Though I had already come to understand myself as being Reformed, I was yet attending a dispensationalist church and would therefore continue wrestling with the Jewish question for some time.
Jobless again, I moved back to Hemet where Alex arranged my first management position over a small convalescent home. Yes, someone actually entrusted a seventeen-year-old kid with no diploma nor certifiable work history with the care and feeding of a score of elderly people. But I genuinely enjoyed the old folks, and cared diligently for them. I actually loved talking with them and hearing their stories. Most of them were Christians, but I did have opportunity to witness to a couple unbelievers in my care as well. All of them came of an age prior to the dogmas of political correctness. They recognized none of the taboos that had become prevalent in the generations since. Amongst them, I could not help but think in terms of civilizations.
It was working there one evening that a gentlemen in my care was watching an interview of a state senator by the name of David Duke. I had never heard that name till then, but the old fellow insisted I lend an attentive ear to this man. All the old folks there watching television agreed that Duke was one of the only people left saying what everyone of their generation knew to be true. So I pulled up a chair, and listen I did.
They were right. Duke spoke of the fall of Christian civilization and the sanctioned genocide of the White race. He sounded very much like my grandparents, and actually gave voice to my own experience of displacement and minority violence. But he also spoke in terms beyond the anecdotal – in statistics. He warned not only of what had and what was transpiring but of its trajectory also – a gathering age of savagery culminating in the total annihilation of not just our people, but of all that Christianity had always held to be good. This awoke me to broader fields of enquiry and study.
But the blessings amongst these old White folks were also attended by heartbreak. The sad reality was that once in my care, the residents never really saw family again. They were like so many tarnished mementos tucked away in the attic, effectively discarded. Estranged of my own, I could well empathize with their disillusionment with the modern world and its shallow pretenses.
I saw a lot of death there. I had to prepare the bodies of many deceased people whom I counted friends in life. Primarily, this meant straightening out any rigor mortis which would otherwise prevent them from fitting in a body bag, and that meant tearing muscle and breaking tendons – during which, I could not suppress reflexively apologizing to the deceased again and again. Nor could I do it at all without constant prayer. Invariably, though, my prayers at those times turned imprecatory as I looked on the indignity of those old White men and women abandoned by family, and, by way of their ethics and identity, generally reviled by society.
After roughly a year, I realized that this position was unsustainable for me: making a pittance, and working round the clock every day in a job with no opportunity for advancement, I resigned.