Show Notes: Cephas Hour of Peace Episode Twenty-Four

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.

Show Notes: Cephas Hour of Peace Episode Twenty-Three

Those of us who were members of the Jesus Revolution in the late ‘60s and early to mid ‘70s are now ourselves in our own 60s and 70s, as such beginning to, as the apostle Paul put it in his first letter to the churches in Corinth and Thessalonica respectively, fall asleep. Our baby boomer bodies are beginning to call us on the wear and tear they’ve been through in the past decades, and while we are not yet lions in winter, fall is definitely in the air.

We are beginning to know with ever increasing frequency the magic and loss of our brothers and sisters in Christ casting off their earthly form in favor of an immortal, incorruptible form in which we will together worship Christ throughout eternity. While this thought is our hope, the stabbing pain of those we love no longer being here with us serves as a reminder that we are still human, we are still alive, and we will endure suffering until our own day comes to rejoin those who have gone before us.

Once, we worshipped together. Again, we shall worship together. Today, we do our best, we who remain from our ever-compacting circle even as another grows more complete, to help carry each other through these strange and troubled days.

Many of us thought Christ would have returned by now, as we have seen tantalizing hints of prophecies requiring fulfillment before His Second Coming seemingly come to pass. However, His words remain true. No man knows the hour when the Son of Man shall return to the earth. Which does lead one to wonder: as bad as things are now, and Jesus is still holding back, how much worse will things become before He does return?

Not a few former evangelicals have, over the past couple of decades, grown very angry at God in general and former fellow evangelicals in particular over Christ not coming back when most all of us thought He would return in the 1970s or at the latest the 1980s. Their fury stems from having to have actually lived out their lives in lieu of God rapturing them off into the heavens, thus escaping any and all personal responsibility. Or so they think.

The fact is, from the moment any individual accepts Christ, this being at any time throughout history from the first apostles until today, Christ is not only Savior but Lord. It’s easy to walk what you think the walk is when you assume it’s all cotton candy dreams in a lollipop sky. It becomes much more difficult when you realize you do have responsibilities and the same rain does indeed fall on the just and the unjust, especially when it looks like the latter are the only group supplied with umbrellas.

It is far too easy to forget, knowing on the surface but not taking to heart, the depths of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross so that we, His creation, might be rejoined with Him. It is also far too easy to forget His sacrifice period, assuming all is well when all is not well, trusting in self when honest reflection reveals there is nothing in the self to trust.

We are all capable of loving grace and utter depravity aimed at others and ourselves. This is who we are. We are well advised to accept it.

Some words from the apostle Paul’s letter to Titus. Quite applicable in these times, methinks.

Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.

But when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

Speaking for myself, these words remind me how I need to not only avoid whenever possible, without failing to declare or defend my views, fight with others over personal and political beliefs, but also avoid fighting with others about fighting with others over said beliefs. We all need to do our best to live in peace with others. When not possible? Time to let them walk away.