Rabbi Lapin: Here’s a question that should keep you up at night

It’s always a fascinating conversation whenever Glenn has Rabbi Lapin onto the show, and today’s interview was no different. For anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of God and the power of a movement, the Rabbi presented a very important question that will keep everyone up at night.

"How did human beings end up on this tiny speck of dust on the edge of a remote galaxy far, far away, from anywhere?" the Rabbi asked.

There's only two possible answers, and depending on what you believe it dramatically shapes your worldview.

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it may contain errors:

GLENN: Rabbi, I'm glad to have you here. You'll play a role in what we announced on Monday. You were one of the first members of the Black Robe Regiment.

DANIEL: That's right.

GLENN: I can't wait to announce additional things. I don't think I can announce it today. But I'll give you hints of things that is happening in Birmingham. I'm telling you right now, get a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama, on 8/28. Because you'll want to be there. This thing is turning into something divine and something of historic nature, I think. But you were on the show last night. And we were talking about the lack of faith that people have in God movements. It's amazing to me when I see -- I read Facebook and I read comment sections. People who claim to be people of faith that have no faith in the power of God and a movement. They say, we don't -- oh, yeah, like that's going to happen. What we really need is our guns.

DANIEL: Right.

GLENN: So tell me a little about God and guns and God and people. Because there is a time for guns, but there also is a time for God and people. How do we know the difference? How do we know what time it is?

DANIEL: Well, you know, let me start answering the question with perhaps one of the most fundamental questions that we all need to ask each other in one times or another, in terms of identifying where each one of us stands in terms of our own faith, this is a really useful question. It's something to mull over in the quiet hours of the night when you can't get to sleep. Because when you think about this question, you absolutely guaranteed will not get to sleep for the rest of the night. And that is, how did human beings end up on this tiny speck of dust on the edge of a remote galaxy far, far away, from anywhere?

Now, the way it seems to me is that there really are only two answers to that question. And if I'm wrong, I hope listeners will tell us because I'd hate to make a fool of myself unnecessarily again.

I know of no answers other than these two. The one is that by a lengthy process of unaided materialistic evolution, primitive protoplasm told into Bach and Beethoven.

And if you don't mind me saying so, Glenn, you shouldn't laugh because it's really rude to laugh at other people's belief system.

GLENN: You're right. I apologize. Yes.

DANIEL: I think we should treat them respectfully.

GLENN: Right. You're right.

DANIEL: The other way is that the Good Lord put us here in his own image. Now, I realize that those are both difficult challenges, but there aren't any others. Unless you want to admit the von Däniken school of theology which says little green men in spaceships came and put us here. But all that does is spawn the question of where they came from.

GLENN: Correct.

DANIEL: So I guess we can dismiss that. Well, you got to answer this question at some point or another. Because how you live your life depends on whether you think we're simply an extension of primitive protoplasms and primitive primates that evolved into people. So really, we're absolutely no different -- we're just sophisticated animals. Some of us has more hair. Some of us have less and less. You didn't have to laugh at that.

GLENN: But doesn't that one also delay the question? Because then I just say, well, where did the protoplasm come from?

DANIEL: Well, because it was a lengthy process. We must postulate billions of years. Because we have to wait for that one amino acid that splits because of some lightning bolt.

STU: But how did the amino acid get there? And how did the lightning bolt get there?

DANIEL: Okay. Nobody told me that this was going to be a grueling interrogation. I mean, I'm doing my best to put out the argument for secular fundamentalism.

GLENN: Got it. Okay. All right.

DANIEL: I mean, obviously there is an answer to that question because too many smart, intelligent people have this belief system. So I don't necessarily know where the amino acid came from. But I guess smart people who are -- who subscribe to this view have an answer.

And what this means is that we are animals and, therefore, that it has certain ramifications. One is infinitization (phonetic) because no cow comes to the farmer and says, you know, I think you're taking too much of our milk. The farmer says, look, you know, I got your mother impregnated. I'll cut your carcass away when you die, and from here to there, you give me all your milk. That's the deal. Which is exactly the promise of the ultimate socialist government: You belong to us. We'll provide you with security from the cradle to the grave or we'll promise you security at any rate. We'll educate your kids. We'll take care of your medicine. We'll pay you when you can't work anymore.

GLENN: Pretty much, honestly like cows.

DANIEL: The ultimate socialist government views us as its property. Which is one of the reasons that the Nazi government opposed smoking. I mean, you read some of the Draconian regulations about cigarettes and cigars in America, but it echoes more than anything else Nazi regulations about that. And the reason is because if you belong to us, we don't allow you to damage yourselves. We don't allow valuable cows to rub up against barbed wire fences because we don't want them to do that. We don't want to lower their value. It's exactly the same over here as well. So another ramification of that takes us back to your question, which is --

GLENN: I don't even remember my question. It's been so fascinating. But...

DANIEL: If we are nothing but animalistic creatures that have evolved to some level of sophistication, then when you buy a cow, the color of its skin becomes very important. Because if I want a black and white Hereford cow, do not give me a brown Jersey cow. And that is why the emphasis on race and skin color is most intense not in the evangelical churches of America. As you know, I speak in 40, 50 churches a year. And these are beautiful, welcoming places of true colorblindness. This is the modern Luther king quote you mention. I speak in these churches. The pastor might be a black congregant. White. A mixture. Nobody cares because we're talking about the content of our character. We're speaking about the bleast (phonetic) in our souls.

But the more you move toward the temples of secular fundamentalism, the universities of America, the campuses, that is where consciousness and focus on race reaches intense and almost intolerably, unimaginable levels. And so the more you believe that we're here because of an accident of evolution, the more you're going to be obsessively preoccupied with skin color. And the more you're focused on the other alternative, the only other alternative -- God you put us here. Well, if he put us here, then we're all in his image. And it doesn't matter whether our teeth are green or our skins are yellow. It just doesn't matter. That's not the issue.

GLENN: Wow. This is why -- this is why NASCAR has him as their rabbi.

DANIEL: No. But now you do too.

GLENN: That's right. That's right. You started talking to me last night because we were talking about evil. And you start talking about somebody I never heard of. The guy who Hitler dedicated Mein Kampf to.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: Tell me about this.

DANIEL: This is fascinating stuff. And by way of brief introduction. I would just say that among the statesmen of the western democracies in the 1930s, as far as I've been able to ascertain, only one bothered to read the book that Hitler wrote, and that was Winston Churchill. Nobody else bothered to read it. Hitler, if nothing else, was honest and forthright.

GLENN: Oh, he was completely clear.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: I read that in my '30s because I wanted to know -- I'm of German background. Did my relatives know? If they read that book, absolutely.

DANIEL: How could you not. Right? Although it was bantry (phonetic) to own a copy. I'm not sure that ordinary Germans actually read it. It's turgid impenetrable prose. But if you actually work your way through it, you really do get a sense of exactly what the plan is. It's extraordinary. This was written nearly 20 years before the war. It's really remarkable. So he dedicates the book to a guy called Dietrich Eckart. And Dietrich Eckart is an occultist, and he's a guy who understands the forces of evil. He's a man who is in possession of ancient Germanic and Norse legends and mythologies that find their way later on -- or, at least I should say earlier than Hitler in the mid- to late 1800s in the music of Richard Wagner, which as you know is music that the Israeli Philharmonic will never play. And most particularly, in a 17-hour stretch of music called The Ring Cycle, made up of Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung.

The reason this is so important is because the first one, the Rheingold is all about dark hunchbacked black-cloaked little men who live underground and all they want is gold, suggesting obviously Jews. The rest of the 17 hours -- by the way, Hitler sat through at least 20 performances of The Ring Cycle.

GLENN: The whole thing?

DANIEL: Yes, the whole 17 hours of it. Because he was taught -- you'll remember, he was nothing at the time of World War I. And it was only after that that he was seen to be such a useful tool by people who understood some of his forces. And these are the forces that infused the entire belief system of the Nazi hierarchy. And no doubt, because belief is such a powerful fuel, even belief in something false, still imparts an energy -- this unquestionably is something of what drove the whole Nazi movement to, you know, close -- to ultimate victory. They came horribly close to winning.

[BREAK]

GLENN: So we're talking to rabbi Daniel Lapin, and he's talking to us. And there's a point to this. And it goes back to ISIS and what's happening in the world. But this guy that Hitler dedicated Mein Kampf to, he was an occultist.

DANIEL: Yes, Dietrich Eckart.

GLENN: So he studied the dark arts, if you will.

DANIEL: Yes, which are the mirror image of the Bible and God.

GLENN: You mean the opposite? Yeah, mirror image.

DANIEL: Yes. Yes.

GLENN: And what did he teach him, and what was it -- where was this Hitler fascination with this, and what did he teach him?

DANIEL: Well, whether you -- whether you believe and are exposed to a worldview that is comprehensive and that essentially explains and makes sense of the world in which we live in. Basically revealing how the world really works. This is incredibly seductive.

And you have such a worldview and I have such a worldview, and we largely share our worldviews. And there's not a lot of mysteries. There are things we don't understand. There are things that are a little bit outside of our range of comprehension that reside in that gray dark area just beyond the stage we can see. But by and large we know we have a road map to reality.

Well, the dark side, the forces on the other side are just as effective, a road map to reality. Accepting that one leads to an ultimate bright light to hope and redemption. The other leads to an abyss of eternal darkness.

That's why the Wagnerian musical drama, The Ring Cycle ends with Götterdämmerung, which is, in fact, the twilight of the gods, where everything comes tumbling down and everything burns up. And the stage darkens. And the curtain comes down, and there's absolutely nothing left, which is essentially, again, the difference between a secular worldview of life and a religious world of life, where we understand life to be in much the same way like a child in utero.

The child says, you know, I'm really not looking forward to the end of this nine-month period when all this ends. This will be like dying. It will be terrible. With no comprehension that that's the real beginning.

So we look at life the same way. That it's a preparation. It's a growing period. It's an opportunity to develop our spiritual connection with our Father in heaven. And this leads to a wonderful, bright optimistic sunlit future. The secular viewpoint is that, at the end of the day, there's absolutely nothing. The curtain comes down onto an eternal darkness. Your soul doesn't exist. You are nothing but a cunningly arranged set of molecules of carbon and hydrogen and oxygen. And when they stop pumping, that's the end of it all.

These are the two opposing visions. One is driven by the Bible. One is driven by occult forces of the darkness. And you're absolutely right. It has now spread to the Middle East.

GLENN: In what way?

DANIEL: Well, one of the most important principles of Judeo Torah teaching is the separation of life and death. Meaning, that as long as we are in the world of the living, God doesn't want us to tamper with the dead. So he doesn't say, oh, you cannot raise the dead. He says, don't do it. So when King Saul tried to raise Samuel and bring back the dead, that was a real problem. He was able to do it. But it wasn't good. And so we are -- are asked to keep things separate. Now, Jews even more than anybody else, as the people who have been given an additional set of rules, like 613 of them, if you really want to know. Are also given, for instance, when we eat, we don't eat milk and meat together. No dairy products belong with meat.

GLENN: Because one represents life. One represents death.

DANIEL: Exactly. Milk is the initial food of every mammal baby. Nothing dies to provide it. It's obviously associated with life. And meat, although admirable when grilled, nonetheless is -- if you know what I mean.

[BREAK]

GLENN: We're having a fascinating conversation with Rabbi Daniel Lapin. And Daniel Lapin's web address is youneedarabbinow.com.

DANIEL: No. Sorry, Glenn. Youneedarabbi.com.

GLENN: Oh. Okay. I guess the emergency version is now. I need him now. You need a rabbi, stat. But youneedarabbi.com.

And he's a good friend of the show. And fascinating. Just a great historian and just a great teacher. But we've been talking about Hitler. The occult. And it has led us now to the mixing of life and death which brought us to the separation of milk and meat.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: If you keep kosher.

DANIEL: Yes, correct.

GLENN: And if I'm not mistaken, at one point, you and I were having a conversation off-air, and I had brought up something that was going on, but basically it was like a snuff film.

DANIEL: That's right. Or you're so good.

GLENN: Remember? And we were talking about something that was in the news. And I was like, this is so disturbing.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: And I said to you, the worst thing that -- that just makes my skin crawl is when you cross sex with extreme deadly violence.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: And it just -- it doesn't feel like there's anything more wrong than that.

DANIEL: Okay.

GLENN: And you explained that to me.

DANIEL: Okay. So you put your finger on it. And I'll just paint in some of the spots you left out. But you're exactly right.

Again, something that's required in -- in the Torah -- and, I mean, this is something that I recommend literally for absolutely every married couple. It's a commandment only for Jews. But that is that marital intimacy is suspended once a month for a period of time. And, I mean, obviously it's difficult, particularly for guys obviously. But to be forced to interact with your wife nonphysically for a week is really very valuable. To be in a situation where not every situation can be resolved with an arm around the shoulder and a kiss, but that it needs to be resolved with words and communication is enormously valuable. And why?

Well, because anybody with any sensitivity recognizes that the Good Lord created men with an infinite capacity to produce seed at almost any age, whereas he chose to create women with an absolute finite limited number of eggs. So the loss of an egg every month for any sensitive woman is sad because it's one less opportunity for life. And so foolish and insensitive people say, oh, you know, it's just hormonal imbalance. It isn't. It's a genuine, authentic sadness which suffuses any sensitive woman at the loss of an egg. You know, it's not the end of the world. But it's sad

GLENN: Wow. I've never thought of it that way. That it's actually a God-given sadness because there's death. Well, not death.

DANIEL: That's right. But loss of a potential of life.

GLENN: Exactly.

DANIEL: But it wouldn't make sense then. In the same way you would want to keep milk and meat separately, similarly you would want to keep the most life-affirming act that a man and woman are capable of doing, we would want to keep that separate from the moment when there's a subtle subconscious, but sometimes overwhelming sad awareness of death. Keep them apart again.

So this is why sex and death are kept so apart. So, for instance, if a husband is in mourning for the loss of a father. Although many would say, what a great way for his wife to comfort him in the best way she knows how. No. It's bringing two things that don't belong together. Our sanity and our grasp on reality is preserved by keeping life and death separate and far apart from one another.

Now, back to Wagner and the whole Germanic system of viewing reality. That ring cycle is absolutely filled with sex and death. In fact, about the only time that anybody seems to get aroused is when they're just about to die. And the whole story is bizarre in this way. Many of the biographers of Hitler and of the Nazi period insist that Hitler remained a virgin until just before he and Eva Braun took their lives. In other words, it was at that moment that all of the studden the guy had a libido.

Now, what were the 9/11 -- what was Muhammad Archer doing on the night of September the 10th, 2001? I think everybody knows. He was indulging physically with a woman. That's what he was doing. What is that all about? The night before you're about to become a martyr for your holy religious cause? It's bizarre. No, it's not if you remember that's part of the Germanic occult that was embedded in all of Nazi philosophy. And so for this reason, something which was taken for granted, we've heard so much of it -- think for a moment, isn't this weird, when you martyr yourself in Islam, where you get to is kind of like a Spanish bordella (phonetic). Seventy virgins. Yeah, right. What's that all about? Well, as long as you see that Judeo-Christian view is that life and death apart, therefore the Satanic occult mirror image of it must mean that sex and death go together. We were speaking about a particular horrible form of underground entertainment that does bring together sex and violence and death. And two people who have become sufficiently imbued with dark forces that that becomes very appealing and very seductive.

GLENN: So is this why -- because I always thought, you know, ISIS is kidnapping women and children and then enslaving them. And then giving them to the soldiers. And I just thought that that was -- like the Germans used to bring hookers in. Because guys have a libido, whatever. Is there more to that than just the libido?

DANIEL: Yes. There's much more to that, yet. There's more. It is the domination of women and a dark derivation of satisfaction of imposing power over women.

GLENN: Rabbi, where are the -- where are the Christians, the activists, the -- the women activists? Why is everyone so silent on this? Let's start with the left, then we'll get to the right.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: Why?

DANIEL: Well, I think primarily because the -- the principle guiding philosophy of leftism is the abolition of Christian faith. There is nothing more important than that. And this is why it is that the forces on the left, you will remember, years ago, including the NAACP dramatically and vindictively opposed the nomination of Clarence Thomas, who when I last checked, was indeed a colored person.

GLENN: Right.

DANIEL: And his nomination was opposed by organizations who exist to advance --

GLENN: The color.

DANIEL: Right. Or how about when women like Sarah Palin were being treated unfairly and cruelly, where was the National Organization of Women? And so we realize then that -- that there's almost a Marxist cynicism to all of this. We don't really care about people with dark skins. We don't really care about women. We must exploit.

GLENN: But that goes -- that's one thing. That would say, okay, I understand why you would stay silent or whatever. But in this particular case, when you have gay people being thrown off the roofs of buildings, when you have women being sold into slavery and raped, and just horrible stuff. Not like Clarence Thomas. Well, chancer Thomas that will pass some things that will be bad for the -- these people are evil. And they stand with them. Sometimes actively really kind of throw -- provide cover for them.

DANIEL: Yes.

GLENN: So that's different. Why do you suppose that active running cover for them is?

DANIEL: Well, we began to just touch on this on last night's TV show, which I found fascinating. And really, what we have to ask ourselves is, what sense -- to answer your question, what sense is there in those on the left hurling vitriol at Christianity, which responds with love, whereas they love and embrace Islam, which if it had the chance would take their heads off.

GLENN: Correct.

DANIEL: So there is a bizarre love affair between the liberal left and the forces of Islam. Astonishingly. Many, many people on the left, regardless of their nominal religious affiliation will tell you that they consider Christianity in America to be a more serious peril than Islam.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah. We've heard that.

DANIEL: Right. So what are they getting at here? What's going on here? And I do believe that cowards are attracted to force and power. And I do think that to the same extent that Christianity is -- look, I'm Jewish. But my understanding of Christianity is about love and compassion. To that same extent to which Christianity preaches compassion and benevolence, Islam preaches cruelty and brutality. They are two opposite ends. They're two extremes of that spectrum line. So I think as a result of that, when people find themselves -- let's put it this way, Stockholm syndrome. What is that? That's somebody who is a captive. And after a period of time, he starts building an emotional connection with his captor. What's that about?

Well, when you're a captive. When you're a hostage, you're totally dependent. Life and death depends on your captor. And so he is the manifestation of strength. You are the ultimate expression of weakness. And I think weakness is attracted. I'm not a psychiatrist, but in an almost psychosexual way, they're attracted to strength. And so Christianity is a lot more difficult to feel an appeal for by these people because, well, you know, Christianity is too nice. And you'll find people in entertainment who will tell you, we will mock -- I don't want to mention their names. But there are comedians with foul mouths who mock Islam -- excuse me, mock Christianity, mock Judaism. The Book of Mormon on Broadway. And the LDS Church was very, very mild about it. They didn't do anything. Why didn't they do a show on Broadway called the Crazy Book of Islam? The Koran?

GLENN: Because everybody would be dead.

DANIEL: They'll tell you! They said, we don't want to get killed. That's all. There is something appealing about strength. You know, it's the same way that the new recruit in the military really can get attached to a very powerful commanding officer who fills him with a sense of confidence and he's in charge. Well, people say, I'll follow him into the gates of hell. I think that the left feels a very similar -- the left is essentially spiritually and morally weak. They feel an enormous attraction to a world force for all its brutality and cruelty. For all its distortion and strangeness, no one can argue that these guys exhibit real strength. I mean, you insult us, we'll just take your head off. Now, there's something delightfully straightforward about that in a mutilated and bizarre kind of a way. And I think the left feels that attraction very strongly.

GLENN: Our guest is Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Youneedarabbi.com. Youneedarabbi.com is his website. And if you've never heard him speak in public, he is fascinating. Really fascinating.

He may not be a super hero like he plays in the movies, but Chris Pratt is proving once again why he's a hero to so many. The silver screen protector of the universe announced on his Instagram page a contest that will benefit the Brain Treatment Foundation, who is a partner of Mercury One that does amazing work with veterans. The Brain Treatment Foundation specializes in helping combat veterans who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The contest asks fans to donate $10 to the foundation for a chance to win a trip to drop in on the Guardians of the Galaxy star on the set of his new film Tomorrow War.

Watch his video below to hear all the details.


Ryan: The Ascent of Kanye West

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Apollo, god of poetry, light, prophecy, dance. Star of Greek mythology, rivaled only by Zeus, his father. God of justice. God of purification, knowledge, healing. God of the Sun. But most of all, god of music. So they called him the Leader of the Muses.

And on a bright Sunday morning midway through November, at the tail end of a decade, Kanye West looked out at the congregation of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, a 16,000-seater originally built for the Houston Rockets, and said, "Jesus has won the victory: Now the greatest artist God ever created is now working for him."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye's newest album, Jesus Is King, had been out for three weeks, and like every Kanye album, it was controversial, as adored as it was unaccepted.

Critics had shown a mostly tepid response, but nobody could tell if their disinterest was genuine, or if it was politically motivated.

After all, for the past year, Kanye had once again managed to penetrate the epicenter of American society. The last two Presidents had literally shamed and cursed Kanye, but, still, who could've guessed he would befriend this one?

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The week after Kanye's Olsteen appearance, at the House impeachment hearings, as the entire country watched and listened, Congressmen and diplomats would mention longtime Kanye collaborator A$AP Rocky no less than five times, in casual reference to the Kardashians and the deal between Trump and Sweden, struck at the urging of Kanye West.

Meanwhile, Jesus is King became the ninth consecutive Kanye album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 — a feat he shares with Eminem and The Beatles — and the sixth time in the 2010s alone. And, to be fair, his only studio album not to debut at number one was The College Dropout, his first, which went triple platinum and earned the third-most Grammy nominations in one night, winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song with "Jesus Walks."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Jesus is King was also the first record ever to top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums, Christian Albums, and Gospel Albums simultaneously. All eleven tracks charted on the US Billboard 100, joining the other 96 Kanye songs to have landed on the Top 100.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

This album was different, and not just because of Kenny G. For the first time, Kanye was not a god or a self-destructive fallen angel. He was a father, a husband, a son, and, most important, a man full of belief, with his hands outstretched, surrounded by a choir.

"I remember sitting in the hospital at UCLA after having a breakdown," he told the congregation, "and there's documentations of me drawing a church and writing about starting a church in the middle of Calabasas."

That night, following an afternoon of ice-skating at the Galleria, Kanye returned to Lakewood Church and performed a concert. Imagine hearing a his electro-gospel opera in an arena designed, acoustically, for professional basketball games. Only better, because everything had been padded. With LSD graphics on the swirly blue carpet.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When we experience art, it changes us.

So there I was, four rows from the stage, crying in front of FoxNews. Because Kanye had brought his Sunday Service choir with him, and they were singing "Ultralight Beam," one of the few perfect songs ever made, a song that played during my wedding ceremony, the song my daughter, God willing, will be born to, a song I have never once listened to without at least tearing up.

“Jesus Is King" A Sunday Service Experience at Lakewood Church with Kanye West youtu.be

"This is a God dream, this is a God dream. This is everything."

Kanye was the only person onstage dressed in his own clothing, a neatened blazer. The choir were draped in grey, like holy silhouettes.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

So who cares about FoxNews and their snotty reporters in their shoulder-padded blazers. The rest of us had drifted into the immediacy of it all. And I wasn't about to play stoic journalist here. I wasn't a reporter first and a human or an American later.

The choir zigzagged on the loft flanking the stage. Each of them had a headset microphone, like Garth Brooks.

God only knew how they sang so perfectly. How did they project their voices like that? More beautiful than anything we had ever heard, more beautiful than water.

After "Ultralight Beam," it was "Every Hour," the mesmeric opening track of Jesus Is King.

Sing every hour, Every minute, Every second, Sing each and every millisecond, We need you

Every Hour youtu.be

The performance felt all the more sacred because this was church, where people gathered to lose themselves, to sing as a chorus, to confront who they really are.

Across the street, one protestor stood hollering.

Meanwhile thousands of people waited at the entrance, giddy to get in. They would join us in no time. Soon, they would fill every seat in this church.

*

That morning, Kanye told Olsteen,

"It's like the devil stole all the good producers, all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people and said, 'you gotta come over and work for me.' And now the trend, the shift, is going to change."

Jesus Is King was the result of a new cultural and artistic movement that more or less started with 2016's Life of Pablo, Kanye's closeted gospel album. Which was a surprising departure from 2013's Yeezus, with its tangled social commentary and fashionable solipsism. And that drum sound, the one every half-decent producer has spent the last six years failing to emulate.

The 2010's saw him grow more cerebral. He even teased a book of philosophy titled Break the Simulation.

Then, in 2018, he released Ye, the second of five albums in a Kanye-produced series, all recorded at his Wyoming studio. In keeping with the criticisms of hip-hop he voiced on "Ye vs. The People"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye eschewed many of the themes he'd embraced for so long, replacing them with meditations on mental illness, fatherhood, suicide, love, and addiction. The album's working title had been "LOVE EVERYONE."

On "I Thought About Killing You," he raps,

The most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest.

The title "Ye" is not just the diminutive of "Kanye."

As he said in an interview

I believe 'ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and, in the Bible, it means 'you,' so it's [saying] "I'm you, I'm us, it's us." It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything, that I'm just more of a reflection of who we are, just as beings.

Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote that

All individuality is a manifestation of universal life, and hence everyone carries a tiny bit of everyone else with him, so that divination is simulated by comparison with oneself.

In the months following the release of Ye, Kanye would live out this idea, and build his own movement, a reflection of who we are, then begin his church in Calabasas.

*

At 10:30 that morning, the three of us — Samantha Sullivan, my wife Caroline, and me —- strolled into the arena and claimed seats in the media section.

That place resembled the inside of an ant colony. We were three ants.

The service began with errorless music, then shifted into a quick, stirring message by Osteen, who always seemed to appear onstage from nowhere, privvy to the kind of big-money stage tricks you find at a Shania Twain concert.

The entire place and all the Jumbo-Trons and all the people, it all had a cinematic presence.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

A preliminary giddiness spread through the room. Then, Kanye emerged, there on the stage, and the place erupted.

A man in a "Jesus is King" shirt danced around his seat.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Everyone took their seats, but one man standing in the crowd shouted affirmations. "Speak truth my brother," he shouted.

The man shouted several more times, then Kanye politely told the guy to hold off on the support because it wasn't helping, because Kanye needed relative quiet to capture and release his flow.

The ceiling glowed in skittish purple.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye described the corrupting force of the media. A chill came over the room. Behind him, the unapologetic blue of Jesus Is King.

It was my first encounter with Joel Osteen, and I was surprised and somewhat baffled to find him likeable, based on everything I'd ever heard about the man.

Kanye said as much, that Osteen is nothing like the version of Osteen many people have broadcast.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Osteen laughed, "When you've got Kanye defending you, you've made it, man."

Rays of light danced through the arena. I'm talking Pink Floyd light show levels.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

With 21 Grammys, Kanye is tied with Jay-Z as the most decorated hip-hop artist of all time.

Osteen asked Kanye what he would say to his younger self, if he could go back in time.

"You know, it's nothing I can say to the younger Kanye through words," he said. "I could speak to the younger Kanye through music."

*

Osteen played the middle section of "God Is," arguably the focal point of the album.

And Kanye danced and rapped along with it. And the surreality of the situation was daunting. Was that really Kanye West up there? with Joel Osteen? dancing to his gospel song?

Six or seven years ago, I saw Kanye a mile away at the Toyota Center — coincidentally, the current home of the Houston Rockets — for his and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne tour. It was a much different experience than this.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When Kanye finished, the media flooded out. As did a quarter of the people in the congregation. This bothered many of the regulars.

Security and ushers yanked big grey mop buckets from cabinets, and dispersed them down aisles, and money music played.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then the time for prayer. Prayer leaders lined the walls and pews. And anyone could walk over to them and pray. Men and women clung to strangers, crying sometimes, hugging. Holding hands, whispering phrases.

*

One of the media coordinators pulled us out of the sermon, led us through passageways and elevators, past classrooms and security guards, through a black sheet, then behind a barricade.

This is where all the media had rushed off to like old folks trying to get the best seat for bingo.

Each news outlet was allowed one question.

After 15 minutes, the energy changed and you could tell they were near.

Then, Kim Kardashian-West was walking our way, holding her daughter's hand, followed by Kanye, who was followed by Osteen.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

"Nice tags," Kanye said, referring to my "GOOD" necklace.

Then:

Brief interview with Kanye West and Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Nov. 17 in Houston, TX www.youtube.com

Some of the outlets asked more than one question, but that was on them. They were the ones sinning in church.

*

As Kanye and Olsteen shuffled away, down the line of journalists, I said hello to a small crew from FoxNews as they packed their equipment.

"We're from TheBlaze," I said, smiling. To which they sneered and glanced at one another then got back to their conversation.
Samantha rolled her eyes and the three of us wandered around for an exit.

"Did we just get stiff-armed by Fox News?" Said one of us. "I didn't think they were allowed to look down on anybody."
"I've had that with people from Fox on several occasions," one of us replied.

"I mean, I thought I was doing them a favor a favor by acknowledging them. Nobody else does."

Then it happened again, a few minutes later, this time with someone we had worked with, someone who knew us.
You bet we were salty.

Bad as it felt to be judged like that, it was good to be underestimated. A relief. It meant we could perform without anyone caring or watching.

They had no idea who we were or what we were really doing. Good.

*

In November 2007, Kanye's mother died during a routine surgery. He and his mom, Dr. Donda West, had always been incredibly close. She raised him alone, after Kanye's father left, when Kanye was three.

A few months later, his engagement with Alexis Phifer abruptly ended.

He was 30 at the time.

Oddly, this tragic sequence of events would cause the birth of auto-tune in rap. Broken-hearted, Kanye wanted to sing. So he ran his voice through a vocoder.

Kanye's album 808s & Heartbreak, which like Jesus is King has no curse words, shoved music ahead at least two decades, into a world of synth-driven robotic R&B/Rap love songs belted out in janky auto-tune. That description doesn't sound ridiculous today. But that's only because Kanye eschewed the stale hip-hop of the early 2000s and reinvented the genre, something he has accomplished with every album.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then, he went on tour. But he never took off any time following his mother's death. And, by the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he'd fallen to what he calls his sunken place.

He and then-girlfriend Amber Rose brought a bottle of Hennessy with them to the award show. They took slugs in the limo. Then on the red carpet.

When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye stormed the podium, sunglasses on, and grabbed the microphone, said "Imma let you finish," then let everyone know the award should've gone to Beyoncé, for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."

He was kicked out immediately. He tweeted, "Everybody wanna booooo me but I'm a fan of real pop culture... I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real."

Followed by an apology. Then a few days later, during an appearance on debut episode of "The Jay Leno Show"

Leno asked Kanye, "What do you think [your mom] would have said about this?"

That hit Kanyelike a punch to the jaw. He teared up, froze.

He publicly apologized to Swift. Several times.

But it did little to quell the blowback. Once again, it felt like the entire nation hated Kanye. Compounded by a hot-mic recording of Barack Obama — the country's first black President — calling Kanye a jackass.

So the embattled Kanye retreated to Hawaii to record a masterpiece, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

*

"We are a Christian country," Kanye said at one point, to uproarious applause.

The vast majority of Americans, 90 percent, believe in a higher power.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

And America has the largest number of Christians in the world, with roughly 167,000,000, comprising 65-to-70 percent of the population. But that's down from 80 percent, as part of a downward trend over the last two decades.

The percent of Americans who attend a religious service of any kind — church, synagogue, or mosque — is even lower, less than half.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

One political scientist blamed the public's growing distrust in institutions. Another blamed conservatives. A writer from New York Magazine took it a step further.

Meanwhile, David French.

As always, the issue is far more nuanced than either side will admit.

Somehow, in the last twenty years, church and religion had become not just uncool, but slightly villainous.

All day, every time I looked around — at people singing, at people dancing, at people crying in joy or in the relief and recognition of their pain — I thought, "How could this ever be a bad thing?"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

I had spent my life going to concerts, had seen Kanye West numerous times, and this was something other than a concert, and unlike anything I'd seen from Kanye. It was also more than just religious or spiritual.

A family of strangers in a city of 6 million, in a world of 7-and-a-half billion, broadcast live, led by a man who fought off the devil in front of us for years. Who struggled with life just like we do, only we could nitpick through the one-way mirrors of our phones and our TVs.

But, now, he had been baptized in public.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Some people were still negative about Kanye's recent faith, especially Christians. As Kanye raps on "Hands On"

What have you been hearin' from the Christians?
They'll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Consensus was, they couldn't believe him. As a Kanye fan since I was 13, I can tell you that he is genuine. It's really his only setting. Plus, his spiritual transformation has been building for quite some time.

*

By the time we returned to Lakewood that evening, the sky had turned dark blue, and frantic with airplanes.

The sidewalks around the arena overflowed with people. Police cars jutted out in crooked lines to block entrances or exits, the strobe of red-white-blue whirling onto pedestrians' faces.

Across the street, facing the giant arena, a man with a bullhorn ranted about the evils of sinful music.

Earlier that day, sheepish protestors had occupied the spot, holding red poster-sized letters that spelled out "I M P E A C H." There were only four of them, though, so they had to double up and share, and sometimes the "H" slanted down or the "I" slipped loose.

"Impeach Kanye?" one of us said, laughing.

"Kanye 2020," shouted someone.

The air was electric. People bounced when they stepped, or walked faster than normal, or turned oddly as they spoke like a third-year professor.

They sang along as they passed traffic-jam cars, most of which were blasting Kanye.

A chorus of police whistles and the usual rumble of semi-trucks passing on US-59. Just down the street, porn shops and strip clubs and a Ferrari dealership. Immediately Southwest, the Mahatma Ghandi District. West, the Galleria, home of the opulent Galleria mall, where Kanye and Kim and family gone ice-skating earlier.

Inside the arena, a different world, low-lit and glowing. A dreamscape of lambent crimsons and violets, a deeper, warmer, slower take on the lights atop the police cars outside. Globular squares of blue were arrayed along the ceiling.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When the musicians emerged to their instruments, the arena was still half-empty. The show had already been delayed 40 minutes. The demand to get in was so ferocious that the security gate was jammed up like a glass Ketchup jar.

Then, like spirits, men and women drifted onstage in all-grey uniforms and matching hats that looked like they should say "VIETNAM VETERAN" but actually said "Sunday Service."

Every single member wore brand-new grey YEEZY Boosts.

From the start, the performance was cinematic, a sort of new-world opera sung by a chorus of young American muses with nose rings or gold chains or dreadlocks or pink hair.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

From the huddle, a young man rose, and began reciting a poem. It was the invocation of the muse.

Gadamer wrote that poetry "becomes a test of what is true, in that the poem awakens a secret life in words that had seemed to be used up and worn out, and tells us of ourselves"

*

After a whirling rendition of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," the choir began "Ultralight Beam."

They let the song spread. It grew enormous.

The air swirled as the song widened.

Kanye waited out of view, then appeared without ceremony.

A collective gasp when people recognized the melody of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Which sounds like a dream already, with all that wilderness.

So it was even stranger when the song morphed into SWV's "Weak," a skating rink anthem written by Charlie Wilson of the GAP Band. A classic.

The choir were their own countervailing force. Yet they also connected us to the drama of the performance.
Looking back, I wish I could live in those moments forever.

*

Then came their cover of "Father Stretch My Hands" by Pastor T.L. Barrett And the Youth for Christ Choir.

Father Stretch My Hands www.youtube.com

Kanye has paid homage to Barrett's track on two different songs, from two different albums.

It was his prayer.

Pastor T.L. Barrett, a man who's lived an exciting and at times difficult life, only to become a Pentecostal preacher on Chicago's south side, and form a choir of 40 teenagers from his weekly choir practice.

If you dive into Barrett, you'll better understand what Kanye is doing.

*

Ten seats from Kim Kardashian-West, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) stared ahead in a neat grey suit, occasionally poking at his phone and blasting people on Twitter.

Which means there were at least two people in the building who have appeared on Saturday Night Live.

There were other politicians, including Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. And even more at the earlier service. You could tell they were politicians the same you can tell a vegan burger from a real Whopper. Several times, Kanye held up his phone up and read the words from his newer songs.

Like "Selah," which built into "Hallelujah"s at the end, intoxicating and perfect, like being sucked into an undertow. Which led into "Follow God," a continuation of "Father I Stretch My Hands."

Kanye uses the image of stretched hands to express his own submission and the process that leads to his healing. As a reference to John 21:18

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

But the song is also about Kanye's literal father, and an argument they had. Then, under it all, he adds a sample of "Can You Lose By Following God" by Whole Truth. He ended the song with his Kanye shriek, somewhat confusing and abrasive with a choir present.

Then — something I did not expect. The thumping bass of Cajmere's "Brighter Days (Underground Goodie Mix)."

And now this was cosmic gospel.

It felt like a rave. Have you been to a rave? It's people dancing, taking MDMA. That is what it felt like.

Flourishes like that were part of Kanye's genius. No other gospel performance would dare. You won't find that kind of diversity at any other hip-hop show, either. The acoustic instruments, the choir. Maybe during a set by electronic musicians like Moodyman or DJ Koze. But, no choir. Yet here Kanye was, at Joel Osteen's church, blasting classic techno.

Oddly enough, though, the most popular song of the night was "Closed on Sunday," Kanye's ode to Chic-Fil-A.

Everyone in the arena knew the words. So then there were two choirs, in a dialogue. I didn't think it was possible, but the collective harmony got even more intense and engulfing than it had all night. So much so that the house speakers started to peak in one corner of the arena.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The Ancient Greeks were the first to use a chorus. In the 5th Century B.C., 50 actors would gather in the orchestra pit and sing in unison, commenting on the action of the play, describing scenes to the audience. They were a collective force. They represented one character, who was able to connect the audience to the characters and events onstage.

Kim Kardashian was front and center filming with her phone, as two of the West kids jumped around on the trippy blue carpet.

The performance was nearing its end, and suddenly Kanye was dressed like everybody else in the choir. Grey Yeezy kit and the Sunday Service hat. His transformation. From Kanye West to Pastor Ye, stretching hands.

Then, he was gone.
One by one, the choir began fluttering off the stage, to the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine."

Half were gone, when I noticed the singer with braided hair crying. With every exhale, she collapsed her hands into the floor. Let them fall like tired flowers. Arrayed in fitful blue. She gasped. She heaved her shoulders like a wingspan. For a moment it was like she would actually take flight.

A security guard peered over the railing from above the stage. He looked like God.Symbolically, he was.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

Don't believe in time travel? Think it's just a wild conspiracy theory reserved for late night alien radio programs? Well, we have unearthed bombshell evidence that will blow you away and have you questioning everything!

A 120-year-old photo PROVES climate change activist teen Greta Thunberg is actually a time traveler warning all generations of the dangers of global warming.

Glenn did some exhaustive research and found several other photos and subjects in historical paintings. Check them out here and see if you are now a believer:

Warning Elvis fans

Ryan: Suction energy, pt. 1

Photo by Sean Ryan

After his speech at the Boone County fairgrounds, Joe Biden nodded and people engulfed him like he was their oxygen. Journalists shouted questions, photographers shoved people aside. Biden's bodyguards even drew closer. I found a good oak tree and hid out in the shade, 100 yards from the chaotic huddle.

Photo by Sean Ryan

They shoved closer and closer and closer, with a vacant urgency to their eyes. They had to get as close as possible. It was like some force of nature had taken control of everyone, and now their only goal was to merge their lifeforce with Biden's.

The frenzy of writhing arms and contorted bodies reminded me of Shark Week, when the hulking Great White breaks through the protective cage and how's the diver gonna make it out alive this time?

*

A need for convergence, often leading to upheaval.

Most of the Democratic candidates caused this effect. As did their opponent, to a far greater degree. Because he was the president, and he was Donald Trump, so, for the time being, he embodied this magnetism more fully than anyone else in the entire world.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every time Trump entered a room or a building or a space of any kind, every person within a reasonable distance felt it. And they couldn't help but bob their head around, and arch up on their tiptoes, scouring till they saw him, and then all they could do was lean forward and wonder if it was actually him.

Some of the Democratic candidates had a stronger magnetism than others. Which meant the gravitational pull had laws that guided it. The term I started using for it was "suction energy."

It was something you could physically feel.

At the Iowa State Fair, Bernie Sanders' suction energy was so intense, so visceral that it reminded me of a hurricane.

Photo by Sean Ryan

People wanted to be as close to the man as possible. They wanted a picture. Proof that it happened—that they had actually seen someone that famous.

And they were perfectly right. And their reactions were understandable and lovely even, and altogether innocent. Encouraging. Because they were genuine.

Even journalists were susceptible to suction energy. In fact, they could spazz even harder. Unlike the public, they were there as workers.

*

Suction energy is an art, something you cultivate. But it's also a result of luck and reality. Some people will just never have an ounce of it.

Take, for instance, Jay Insleey, who was apparently a Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 election. At some point in my travels, I wound up in the same place as him.

Maybe it was a couple times. A couple, two, three. I can't remember.

All I know is that I went to Clear Lake, Iowa for the Democratic Wing Ding, to see Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren and the 20 other candidates, and this guy Jay Insless ... sorry, I mean Inslee took the stage at some point. It's hard to say when exactly because, as I mentioned, he was impressively forgettable, like a human thumbtack.

Wing Ding featured Jay Insee?Photo by Sean Ryan

He was yammering about something, and, man, he looked and sounded like P.C. Principal, from South Park, and that was pretty funny.

I told my dad, and then we were both laughing. Then my dad did an imitation of P.C. Principal, and we were really hooting.
Then all I could think about was P.C. Principal. So I ducked out into the hall to watch a P.C. Principal clip compilation, and I laughed and laughed and nobody went "Shush!," because there were plenty of others like me.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, boy, I laughed. I was actually a bit sad when the clip was over. I'd forgotten where I was, and when I caught a glimpse of the guy onstage, my sadness deepened into pity. The feeling you get when you realize that the amateur thinks he can beat the professional. When the replacements think they will know valor. When your dog thinks they're going to the park, but really it's the vet, and they wake up without balls.

Do we have an obligation, a moral imperative, to tell a Square when she's trying to shove into a Triangle hole? How much teeth-lettuce does a person lodge into their incisors before you are inclined to alert them?

Like, after this speech, that guy John Insley, would wander around the walkways of the Surf Ballroom, same as Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, only he'd lack their glow.

Crowds flocking to Kamala HarrisPhoto by Sean Ryan

At one point, he'd clench his jaw into what must have been a smile, ready for any nearby journalists to sneak a candid photo or rush forward for a quote.

Photo by Sean Ryan

If any of the others noticed, they didn't let on. So here was this chubby kid in a costume knocking on the front door, and I know full well Halloween was weeks ago, but who's gonna feed the harmless lie if I don't?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Nobody, that's who.

So I groaned and shrugged and told my dad, "Let's give the tubby kid some Starburst."

"Wha?" he asked.

Then I asked would he get a picture of that candidate over there.

"Who," he replied. As in, "I can't see an important person over there, which one is running for president?"

In other words, Insleep had absolutely zero suction energy. To a near-magical extent.

Within a few weeks, he would announce the end of his campaign on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Yet there he was, somehow center stage, looking out at the packed Surf Ballroom, where, on February 2, 1959, Buddy Holly played his last show.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Buddy Holly, now there's a man with suction energy. So much suction energy that, when he died, music went with him.

*

When I saw Kamala during the week of the Iowa State Fair, she was at the height of her campaign, having climbed to second place, within nine points of Biden.

Everywhere I went, there was Harris, with her personalized KAMALA bus, and her chartered press pool, and her entourage of staff and fans and media.

Photo by Sean Ryan

On the first Saturday of the Fair, my dad and I wound up seeing Harris five times. Five times! In part because she could hustle. She wanted that job. But also because she understood power and optics.

Before her speech at Jasper Winery, (when she played savage 4D chess with Andrew Yang, she spoke to several hundred people packed into the atrium of Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, her fourth rally of that day.

Photo by Sean Ryan

When she finished her speech, a horde surged straight for her, eighty or so.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Just a month earlier, The New Yorker had run a glowing profile on Harris. That was huge. As of the release of this story, Harris was the only 2020 presidential candidate that The New Yorker had featured.

Photo by Sean Ryan

At that point of the election, excitement for Harris was so intense that it seemed obvious she would get the nomination, or close to it. So I wrote five pieces about her.

But by the time I finished all five stories and added them to the publishing schedule, Harris had sunk 11 points to 4 percent, which put her in 8th place. In New Hampshire, the first state to hold primaries, she was polling at 1 percent. By comparison, Biden, Warren, and Sanders were locked at 19.

Now, the only headlines were about her foundering campaign and her dwindling cash and her downsized staff. In each case, the sentiment was the same, "Whatever happened to Kamala Harris?"

Which answer a question I posed in my first story. Would Harris "I got this one in the bag" attitude help her or ruin her? Turns out the ostentatious bus and the unnecessary press accommodations had been a premature move, and now she just seemed cocky.
Because suction energy can, and often does, vanish in an instant.

A Bernie can always become a Jay InslepInslee. Nobody is immune, no matter how powerful they appear. Look at Bill Cosby. Harvey Weistein. Both were godlike in their power. Both had a gravitational pull so intense that they raped women for decades and nobody did a thing. Cosby's suction energy was so intense that he collected honorary degrees like a vacuum collects dog hair. 70 of them. Then, off to prison to eat pudding in the dark.

By the time I saw Harris at the Democratic Debate in Houston, a month after she stormed Iowa, she'd begun transforming into Joe Biden, focused on all the wrong things, laughing at her own jokes, without realizing that nobody else was laughing.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com