John Steward of Jesus
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More Airport Experiences

(Posted at HisCalledOutAssembly)
November 18, 2007

My wife and I recently returned from travel from Wichita, Kansas to Tampa, Florida, where we were blessed to spend time with six of my eight siblings and their spouses, and my aged parents, who were able to make the trip from Iowa.

Traveling as we do, with Kingdom of Heaven passports issued through the Embassy of Heaven (, means that we never know what to expect when going through airport security.  The official line is that "government issued" identification documents are needed.  Our documents are issued under the authority of the government which we have chosen and recognize.  The difficulty is that our government is not officially recognized by the kingdoms of the world.

When we presented our tickets and passports to the Northwest ticket agent at Wichita, he said, "I need government-issued identification. This is not government-issued identification."  As I recall, I said that it was the government under which we live.  He repeated what he had said before, and asked if we had other identification with us.  We said we did not.  He looked at my wife and said, "I need government-issued identification".  She shrugged, lifted her hands slightly, and said, "That's all that I have."  He then said rather quietly, "I can help you". He looked at me and asked, "Do you know what you are doing?"  After a pause, I said I wasn't sure what he meant by the question.  He said (still holding our passports), "This is not a recognized government of the world".  After a slight pause, I said, "That is true".

From that point in the process it was clear that the agent was doing what was necessary to facilitate our arrangements.  It was an extended process, partly because our flight had been canceled and we were put on a flight two hours later.  He went into a back room through a door and took some time there.  He had an assistant make three copies of our passports and other documents.  He called a higher office for directions in a special case such as ours.  During the process he received a printout of about a page regarding our case, which he immediately turned over so I could not read it.  He gave us the new tickets, made sure that our luggage was properly tagged, and explained all the revised arrangements to us.  This was all done patiently and courteously.
As always, we were "red-tagged" so that we were selected for special screening when passing through airport security, staffed by TSA.  That meant being frisked, having carry-on bags and shoes wiped with tissues which were tested for drugs, and passing through metal detectors.  Other than that inconvenience, we moved on, boarded the plane, went through one plane transfer, and arrived at Tampa on scheduled time.

Because I did not have access to a printer while at Tampa, I was not able to print our boarding passes from the airline web site.  I did this at a kiosk immediately in front of the ticket counter, which meant that our luggage labels were automatically printed on the other side of the counter for the agents.  They asked for our name, put the appropriate labels on our luggage standing before them, and sent us on our way without even looking at our identification documents.

We proceeded to the ritual of passage through airport security.  In all our previous experiences, their work seemed to be focused on confirming that the name on the ticket corresponded precisely with the name on the identification, and that the time and place named on the ticket were appropriate.  Several times TSA workers had commented on the interesting and unusual nature of our passports, without implying that it was their function to question their legitimacy.  This time our experience was quite different.

The TSA worker who first met us said he needed identification documents issued by one of the states or by the U.S. government.  He asked for any other documents we had with us which would meet this need.  We had none.  He referred us to a worker standing in the area who apparently had review authority.  She repeated the same need, and asked for any social security documents, voter identification papers, drivers licenses, or anything else issued through such governments. I said we had none because we didn't participate in any of the coercive governments of the world.  She called in a worker with still higher review authority.

Our interaction with him took fifteen to twenty minutes or more.  My wife and I both thought at times that it might be our first experience of leaving an airport because we were prevented from boarding a plane.  He forcefully said in many ways that he needed photo identification issued by government, that it was our responsibility to prove that we were the people named on the tickets, that the requirements were firm and left him no option, that he could appreciate our position but could do nothing to help us, that we simply would not be permitted to pass through the security area of the airport without the required identification. He suggested that we might talk with the airline to see if there was a way for us to get on the plane without going through the security area of the airport.  I asked him if he knew of any such possible way.  He did not.  My opinion is that he simply wanted us to leave and be gone.  I asked if the problem was caused by a technicality or by a concern that we might be dangerous with phony identification.  He said there was a real concern.  I asked if they could check the records of the airline to confirm our many travels, or call someone in Kansas to confirm our identity.  He said it was not their responsibility to check us out, but our responsibility to present acceptable proof.   I asked whether all this was something new.  He said, yes, they are now cooperating with the coast guard and using new procedures to tighten security.  As I recall, there were at least a couple times during all this that he was spending time in a conference area with other workers while we were left standing and waiting.   I intended to imply by remaining there that I thought it was proper for us to board the plane, and that we would remain there until we were ordered to leave and told that remaining would subject us to legal charges. Whether or not he had this impression, he finally said that he knew of no solution but would ask his manager to come over.

She came over, confirmed several details of our previous conversations, and said she knew from what she had learned that we sort of have our own church and are not a part of other governments. She said she would have the airport police review us for security risks, and that if they approved we would be able to board the plane.  I thanked her for her interest and for her efforts to facilitate the matter.  I asked her if she could make any suggestions  regarding anything someone like me (not a citizen or resident in any kingdom of the world) could do to make such a process easier in the future.  She replied that she didn't know of anything.

The airport police officers (part of the local police force) who continued the interaction had a pack of papers related to us that looked to me as if there were at least ten to twenty pages, with my picture on the front.  Someone had obviously been spending some time on the matter.  I was told that to check on our identity they needed a date of birth.  I replied that in the kingdom of heaven we aren't using dates of birth, but dates of baptism (or initiation, or beginning of identity, or regeneration) for reference.  That date is on the passport.  The officer said he needed a date of physical birth.  After further discussion, he asked whether I was unable to provide such a date.  I said that within his system I have no date of birth.  He said he could accept that.  For reasons I don't understand, there was a discussion of where we obtained our tickets.  When they learned that they had come out of the kiosk by the ticket counter, they were satisfied.  A bit later there was a focus on where I was born.  I said I was born in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.  Somewhere in the discussion there was an observation by them that I did not recognize the sovereignty of the kingdoms of the world.  I said I accepted their sovereignty within their jurisdictions, but that I remained outside those jurisdictions.
Continuing the search for a place of my birth, and understanding that I did not identify subsections of the earth with state names, the lead officer said he would rephrase the question, and asked whether most people would consider the land on which my body was born to be a part of one of the united states.  I agreed that most people probably would, though I would not.  It was that which seemed to fully satisfy him.  In further friendly discussion, he told me that he recognized that we had a constitutional right to travel as we were, even without providing a date of birth.

This last part of the experience further supports my impression that among the kingdoms of the world there is significance attached to the land on which one is born.
They hesitate to expel anyone from the land of his "birth".   Native "inhabitants" are given a certain respect.  This may be part of the implied  understanding they have with the  Creator of the land and its inhabitants.   How a man determines how far someone else's  native land extends is  a matter deserving our serious thought.

In the concluding moments of what had then become a friendly exchange, I asked the police officer whether he could put a note in the airline records or in other records available to security officers to make such a process easier for us in the future, or whether I could do anything else to help.   He replied that while he knew that there was a constitutional right for us to travel as we were, and that it could not be prevented, the reality is that it may always be subject to such delays and inconveniences.  He could make no suggestions for improving the situation.

While I do not covet any further experiences like these, I will be available as they are put before me, and rejoice in the knowledge that the Spirit may use them to make others more aware of the reality and availability of the kingdom in which freedom is found.
And I rejoice and give thanks that in this case I could proceed on my way, be blessed with time with my family, and return home safe and joyful.

May our Creator and Redeemer be praised!