As I’m recording this show, it is the first episode of the new year. New years have always fascinated me, mostly because of the promises made on New Year’s Eve of the preceding year to change ones ways, said promises long since left discarded by the time February rolls around.
New years, despite the advertising campaigns, don’t offer the opportunity for a new you or I. in fact, they are nothing but a continuation of the previous year, which given how miserable 2020 was for most all of us is hardly a comforting thought.
Yet there is comfort in the new year, a comfort that unlike the illusionary promise of new beginnings facilitated by a fallible calendar there is still and always present the opportunity for a new you and I, or a renewed you and I. This promise is based not on the aforementioned fallible calendar but rather on the infallible Christ, to Whom a thousand years is like a day. This promise is not rooted in thin veneers of Biblically-based morals imposed by a society that does, or at least did, apply a surface knowledge of Scripture to proper individual and group behavior. It is secured in the unshakable foundation of life in Jesus Christ, of the workings of the Holy Spirit in each and every believer, and in the fact that through the substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross a path has been made available for we, the imperfect, to have fellowship with the perfect, as the apostle Paul wrote boldly approaching God’s almighty throne though His grace, guided by a path paved not with gold but rather mottled with Jesus’ blood, shed on the path of Calvary.
It certainly isn’t paved with politics.
Picking up on the final sentence in the previous segment, the question occasionally arises as to what place faith in Christ and its surrounding mandates involving the life we who believe are called to live has to do with politics. Jesus Himself had little to say on the subject aside from render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s. Paul, in his letters to different churches, spent little time on the subject other than occasionally noting a believer should obey the law and those who are responsible for the carrying out of same. A notion that given the time period, one in which Christians were literally being thrown to the lions, must have made those who read the letters wonder if while enduring one of the several beatings Paul endured for the sake of Christ one of the blows hit him on the head, not just the back.
I imagine that much like most other political entities throughout the millennia, Rome was constructed in a fashion where the hotheads and head honchos were all congregated in Rome itself — or Washington DC if you prefer — whereas out in the sticks, which were looked down upon by Rome and its leaders as being something less than desirable neighbors and certainly far beneath the quote dignity unquote of the Roman elite, people pretty much adopted and followed the live and let live mantra, going about their business of providing for themselves and their families. These people could hardly be bothered by the Christians that were rapidly increasing among themselves, because the Christians as well were preoccupied with things like providing for themselves and their families. Besides, the Christians were more often than not the nice people on the block. Sort of like Ned Flanders in a toga.
Make no mistake, however. The closer one was to Rome, the more potentially lethal in temporal sense it was to make known one’s acknowledgement of Christ as Savior and Lord. The world has never looked kindly on Christians. It never will. A believer should get used to being looked down on, ignored, ridiculed, slandered, and ofttimes directly attacked in some fashion for their beliefs. It’s easy to say such events are proof you’re doing your walk with Christ right. But it’s not easy to go through. You just do it.
In this country there is a dangerous disconnect between politicians and the public. To some degree this has far more often than not been the case, but seldom has it been so apparent as is the case today. Both elected and self-appointed politicos have utterly tuned out the people. By the people I’m not referring to social media hotheads believing a mouth and a modem makes one qualified to dissect and advise regarding public affairs. Rather, it is the people who do the work and wish for nothing more than to be left alone and unencumbered in their God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, who are now rising in anger over power grabs and outright mockery by elected officials.
One may wonder how such people stay in power. The answer isn’t quite bread and circuses, but it’s close. These politicians remain untouchable within the boundaries of their own political districts due to the generous amount of taxpayer money they channel into said districts, all the while portraying themselves as the kings and queens of largess for doing so. They rely on a gullible public and sycophantic media to overlook how they reinvest a pittance of the taxes they collect in their districts while funneling the majority of funds to cronies and third-rate efforts of social engineering. They believe they are our betters, and we keep reinforcing this belief with our votes. Well, we alongside our dead relatives who still magically vote in every election.
Several years ago, when blogging was still a primary vessel of social media, I came up with what I labeled the four tenets of the blogging evangel. They go as follows:
1) The ability to broadcast an opinion neither elevates nor validates said opinion;
2) Write from and for the heart, not the wallet;
3) Answer your email every time all the time;
4) Never become what you profess to oppose.
The points are self-explanatory, so I won’t go into a lengthy detailing. However, I do bring attention to the fourth point of never becoming what you profess to oppose.
All Christians should and must take action against government-inflicted injustices. The people run the government, or at least are supposed to do so. Today we have nothing of the sort. We respond to open lawlessness by elected officials with a shrug. We tolerate open dismissal by, and innumerable lectures from, lobbyists and consultants on what is best for us while we watch our cities die from economic strangulation and our families and neighbors die from despair-fueled drug use. We exist but to serve and fatten all wallets except our own.
This isn’t a matter of Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, left and right. All are equally guilty. This is private sin carved into public policy. This is the lust for power, the thirst for wealth, the desire to lord over others. This is those who claim to do what they do in an effort to serve the people, yet serve no one but themselves and fellow self-worshipers at the never-ending feast of political gluttony. We attempt to speak with our votes, all the while having no confidence in our votes not being compromised. This is the way in our country today. Those in power have indeed become what they profess to oppose.
The day will come when judgement will be executed against the guilty. We who know Christ consider this and stand in humbled awe, knowing that the only thing preventing our own punishment for guilt is Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross. We therefore are called and compelled to preach His gospel in word and deed, defending the innocent and politely refusing to compromise our beliefs for the sake of political and societal acceptance.
This is not the easy way. It is the only way.