I’m in a mood…
The thread of thought that weaves and knits,
The words we use and our daily skits,
Oft driven by the global shifts,
In things we can’t understand.
There’s need to release to obtain inner peace,
There’s need to let go and refrain,
From chasing the rabbits and seeking the piece,
That’s currently racking the brain.
The secret here is to listen and hear,
To observe and revise what’s inside,
To reflect and collect what the heart may beget,
When we rest where the spirit reside…
Rather than making any effort to provide astute political analysis today, this Torch Report will be more a “Letter from Luke”—words from my heart to yours.
As I surveyed the newscape today, I felt a sort of malaise and dismay. Intent on understanding my own emotions, I simply stopped reading, closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and listened… what was going on in my inner world?
What were the thoughts that kept popping up? Where was the mind inclined to go?
This is the observation phase, awakening the inner witness, resting within inner awareness, by simply sitting in a moment of silence. In such moments, a cacophony of sound arises, spontaneously it seems, from the collision of all the bits and parts of my biological being. The breath. The heartbeat. The vibrations that tickle my ears.
There is more depth in these moments than can be plumbed in a lifetime, let alone articulated in a daily report. It’s a habit I recommend exploring, this sitting in silence. As a matter of fact, I once interviewed Christian author Rich Lewis about his book Sitting With God, and one of the lines that struck me as most profound was this:
“Silence is not empty. It is filled with God.”
The full interview—How To Connect With Your True Self: On The Wisdom Of Silence & Centering Prayer With Rich Lewis—was just one of many interviews I had the honor of doing during the summer of 2021, as I was launching the Soul Path Podcast. As the memory surfaced this morning, as I revisited the experience, something stirred deeply within me… there’s something there.
All at once, it seemed appropriate to tell you a story that I’ve kept stuffed and buried inside. You may be wondering how in the hell I went from interviewing spiritual leaders to opining on geopolitical chaos, and that’s what I want to share.
I want to share this story, because it feels like it might shine some light on the greatest divide facing our country today, namely the religious division I’ve touched on so many times before. At the outset, I need to acknowledge that this is hard for me, because by sharing this story, putting it in writing, and broadcasting it to the world, I am exposing myself in the most vulnerable way.
Why did I stop recording the Soul Path Podcast?
It was for political reasons. It was for conformity.
During this time I was helping coach high school football (and loving it!), teaching yoga, coaching people on personal development and spiritual growth, and interviewing these spiritual leaders. Things changed when I was fired as a football coach, for telling the kids they didn’t need to be afraid of covid and they didn’t have to wear a mask. This event is ultimately what pushed me into political activism.
What was happening was SO wrong, I could not just sit back and allow it to happen. I am a fighter, and so I started to fight. I created a Parental Rights presentation to get other parents fired up about protecting their kids from these ridiculous authoritarian dictates. I created the Shifting Perspective presentation to inform the community about the covid con. I spoke at public meetings and community gatherings—and from this, I was strongly encouraged to run for school board.
This was my platform:
I nearly pulled it off…
It was a two-week write-in campaign against an incumbent whose family had been in the area for generations. I was the new kid in town. In reality, it wasn’t going to happen. But one day, playing my guitar outside the library, handing out flyers and introducing myself to the public, I got pulled aside by a sharp dressed, clean cut local gentlemen.
He whispered in my ear:
“People like you, but they’re not going to vote for a hippie. You need to get cleaned up if you want a shot at being elected.”
Here’s what I looked like that day:
Here’s what I looked like jammin’ at the county fair just weeks prior:
To be clear, prior to the pandemic I’d been a clean-cut guy. It was only during the pandemic, while my family was homesteading, that I’d let my hair and beard grow out. In other words, it was the first time in my life I’d ever looked like this—but this was they only way the community had ever seen me. Regardless, since a lot of guys my age were balding out, I was kinda diggin’ the hair.
More than that, there was something substantive in the self-acceptance department as I went through the process of growing into a full-blown wild man. It was still me in the mirror, even though I thought I looked ridiculous. Could I get over myself? Could I get over my outward appearance and accept that this was the way God made me?
Those were my internal reflections at that point, which were aligned with my belief that life is really about the spiritual priority, about peeling back the layers of self-deception to see oneself and the world as it really is. Though I’d spent a lifetime on and off that path, it boggled me that I still struggled when I looked in the mirror.
At any rate, you might imagine how my heart sank when that kind, clean-cut man whispered his words of wisdom. As much as I hated the premise that I would be rejected because of my appearance, and as much as it rubbed me wrong and pushed all my rebel buttons, I knew he was right. I talked it over with my wife.
The hair had to go.
But it wasn’t just the hair that needed to be sacrificed, it was the whole hippie image. What self-respecting Christian conservative could ever support a candidate who was cranking out crack-pot, New Age hippie content like this:
Thus, the Soul Path Podcast was put to rest, wings clipped before it ever took flight.
Diddo for the nonprofit I’d founded in Boise, Heathen House International. Offering fellowship for seekers, for sinners, and for spiritual skeptics wasn’t something that resonated within my new, predominantly Christian community. Being labeled a happy, healthy, heathen in a town like this was a recipe for going nowhere.
Never mind that this was a “bridge ministry” aimed at meeting people where they were at, and encouraging them to find their own path to God. Never mind that I’d been “Pastor Luke” in a past life, that I’d helped found ministries, or that I was rubbing elbows with some of the most prolific church planters on the planet while in my twenties. Appearance and conformity in the present was clearly more important.
I suppose that’s just the way that politics goes—which is precisely why I’d never wanted to touch politics with a ten-foot pole. I’d been prodded to run for school board, and I did so in good faith, believing that if elected I could have a direct and positive impact in the community, and on my family, since I had a high schooler.
When the race was over, I knew that I’d never run again.
But at that point, having launched the Good Morning Goldendale podcast and the GoldendaleMatters website—both aimed at informing the local community about what I was learning in regard to the Great Reset, and discussing what we could do to pushback against the globalist agenda—I was already very engaged and plugged into a local network of incredible people who valued life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness just as much as I did.
Somehow, without really realizing it, I’d become a political activist. There were meetings all the time, phone calls, emails, and picket lines. Protests on the courthouse lawn. Petitions to reclaim constitutional rights. Political campaigns to elect a constitutional sheriff and other like-minded candidates. I was in it to win it.
Working side-by-side with so many amazing people was a wonderful experience. When the People’s Convoy took off for Washington DC in the spring of 2022, a small group of people pooled their resources and pitched in to send me along with them. They wanted to have eyes on the ground, to document what was really happening, and so I made the trek with that mission in mind.
This road trip was really where the Torch Report was born. Standing on the back of flatbed trailers, preaching liberty for all and fanning the flames of freedom with my signature “missionary fervor”—to quote the local paper—the listening audience quickly expanded all across the fruited plains. And you know what?
I observed something very interesting on this trip.
I observed division in the ranks.
I observed a lot of hardcore Christians trumpeting the “God’s Army” shtick, and I observed a lot of other liberty loving Americans being completely put off by it.
Fighting for freedom isn’t a religious exercise, it’s an expression of the human spirit.
It really doesn’t matter how someone makes peace with their maker, or whether they choose to believe humanity is nothing more than a speck of dust in the cosmos, anyone who hasn’t been brainwashed retains the innate desire to live as a free human being. I had many campfire conversations that confirmed this throughout the trip.
But back at home, the vast majority of people I’d become associated with, the majority of people that I was fighting alongside, the people I’d come to respect and care for, were largely traditional Christian conservatives—aka traditional Republicans.
Not all. But most.
Whereas earlier in the pandemic, people of all walks of life had pulled together to stand up for medical freedom and parental rights, there was a slow settling of people back into their prior social circles. Baptists hung out with Baptists, Adventists hung out with Adventists, Mormons hung out with Mormons, and so on.
The un-churched and non-religious went back to being adrift, fluttering between social circles in search of stimulating open-minded conversations and acceptance.
Nearest I can tell, that’s where most people are at now. There are fewer and fewer people at the meetings. The politics of it all is just so messy. Nobody wants to offend their neighbors or risk their reputations standing up for something that other people in town disagree with—or worse yet, standing alongside an atheist, agnostic, or hippie. They just want to go about life like it was before.
They want to go back to the way it was. But, if there is one thing I’ve come to believe absolutely, and I’ve attempted to make crystal clear in the last 536 reports, it’s that there is NO WAY we can go back to the way it was. Not now, not ever.
We need a profound shift in perspective if we intend to solve our problems.
“People like you, but they’re not going to vote for a hippie.”
I don’t care. I’m not looking for votes or trying to win a popoularity contest. I’m trying to shine light on the truth that there is more that unites us as Americans, than there is that divides us. I’m trying to bring people together and talk about the bigger issues that beset us. I’m trying to breakdown the walls that divide the liberty movment.
I recently met with a man, a respectable man with whom I align politically and have much in common, who told me that doing yoga was devil worship that invited evil spirits to possess my body. As a veteran who’d used yoga as a tool to overcome a decade of chronic pain, crawl out of the pit of depression and despair, and avoid the amputation of my left foot, I politely disagreed.
I assured him that I do love God, though I refrained from discussing the nuance of our different understandings on what exactly that meant. I could accept that we disagreed, and felt that regardless we were still allies, though the sentiment didn’t exactly feel reciprocated.
Thus, here I am, standing in the gap.
Why was I feeling the funk this morning? It’s because everywhere I looked I saw these sorts of superficial divisions being stoked. I saw America being divided. I saw our nation under attack, and rather than seeing people coming together to defend the Republic, I saw people retreating into the comfort zones of groupthink and party affiliations. This is not the answer.
That path will only end in defeat.
We must find a better path forward.
To do so, we must resist the urge to divide ourselves with such petty divisions, unite on the common values of liberty, and fight for the truth that we were each born free.