From Focus On The Family to La Familia Michoacana
La Familia Michoacana was all over the news out of Mexico last week. In President Calderon’s home state of Michoacan, federales carted off ten mayors and twenty other local officials who were allegedly under the control of La Familia, an ambitious cartel often described as a “pseudo-evangelical cult.” (See my earlier post on them as parallel state here.)
On Saturday an internal intelligence report on La Familia from the Mexican justice department surfaced in Milenio, bringing the news that the faith-based cartel grounds its indoctrination program on the writings of macho Christian author and veteran Focus On The Family senior fellow John Eldredge, who now heads Ransomed Hearts Ministries in Colorado Springs.
There are four separate references to Eldredge in the Mexican intelligence memo on La Familia. The cartel has conducted a three-year recruitment and PR campaign across Michoacan featuring thousands of billboards and banderas carrying their evangelical message and warnings. La Familia is known for tagging its executions and other mayhem as “la divina justica”–divine justice.
The report says La Familia leader, Nazario Gonzalez Moreno aka El Loco o More Chayo (“The Craziest”) has made Eldredge’s books required reading for La Familia and has paid rural teachers and National Development Education members to circulate the Colorado-based evangelical’s writings throughout the Michoacan countryside.
According to his bio:
John was a member of the staff at Focus on the Family for 12 years. Most recently he served as Senior Fellow for Christian Worldview Studies at the Focus on the Family Institute—a one-semester program for college students located at the Focus campus in Colorado Springs. There he began showing a new generation of Christians what writers like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and George MacDonald knew so well: “Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person. It is not a program for getting us in line or for reforming society. At its core, Christianity begins with an invitation to desire.”
At FOTF, Eldredge led Dobson’s anti-gay crusade. Here is Rev. Mel White’s account of a May 1994 meeting in Colorado in a letter White sent to Dobson:
John Eldredge, the first, key-note speaker. “The gay agenda, ” he claimed quite falsely, has all the elements of that which is truly evil. It is deceptive at every turn…It deceives those who are drawn into it, who embrace it. It presents an extraordinary deceptive face to the public at large.”
John was one of the three delegates to that conference from Focus on the Family. …Mr. Eldredge made his goals for gays and lesbians completely clear: “..to roll back the militant gay agenda wherever it manifests itself…whether in domestic partnership ordinances…school curriculum issues…pursuit of minority status…marriage and adoption privileges, so on and so forth.”
Eldrege has been repeatedly taken to task by Christian critics on theological grounds, including his mixing of “neo-pagan” philosphy with the Gospel and aggressive of ‘Muscular Christianity”. Here and here.
This from Christian blogger Tim Challies :
John Eldredge became a major player in the evangelical world with the release of The Sacred Romance which he co-authored with Brent Curtis (who has since died). Following The Sacred Romance he wrote Wild at Heart, Waking The Dead, The Journey of Desire and more recently, Epic. I have read all of these except for Waking The Dead and The Journey of Desire. Eldredge’s books are targeted primarily at men and his writings have great appeal for men, many of whom feel that society has forced them to be like Mr. Rogers – harmless and just a little effeminate. Eldredge encourages men to be real men – to head to the wilderness and be the rugged warriors we all want to be if we look deep inside ourselves. Eldredge continually writes about William Wallace of Braveheart or Maximus, the main character in Gladiator – real manly men.”
Handiwork left on a nightclub dance floor by Eldredge’s “real manly” Christian acolytes..it doesn’t get more Mel Gibson than this :
More details to follow.