Few will disagree that our nation today is one of general unrest and that civil discourse is almost impossible due to the turmoil that exists among our people. Turmoil which is best described as a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation, or commotion brought on by the hate and rhetoric of people determined to destroy anything they disagree with. This effort is aided by a complacent media that no longer reports news but instead choses to write the news. Where do we in the pew fit into this world of uncivil behavior driven by hate and thirst for power? First thing that comes to my mind is that a Christian, a follower of the way could not meet God’s commandment that we are to “Live a Holy Life” and subscribe to any of the beliefs or practices that are destroying our society. Please stay with me through this blog, be aware I am stretching a bit to make a point.
My first stretch is to give form to this madness. The first place we go of course would be the political parties, who themselves are going through a transformation of sorts. Why here first? Because political parties are constantly seeking to gain or consolidate their power base, and power corrupts.We can then move on to factions within these and here lies one of our clues. There are the liberals, the conservatives and add to that the “far left” and of course the “far right”, the last two sometimes referred to as “ultra”. We all can agree that dialogue between these groups can be difficult but we have moved way past that. Still…..while these differences of opinion can be heated, they are not the problem.
My second stretch is to suggest what is driving this destruction of civility and tolerance, to give it form, so I suggest this rather unusual thought. Theocracy……and yes I can hear you asking, does he know what a theocracy is?
theocracies. 1 : government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. 2 : a state governed by a theocracy.(www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theocracy)
Stay with me now. I am saying that this level of hate and lack of civil discourse requires some form of organization. I am saying we are seeing a new form of government. Now some folks are pointing to a shadow government, there has always been a shadow government. Ever hear of those “smoked filled back rooms”? We are dealing with a “Theocracy of Hate”. Those involved in this belong to a government built on hate and have become the powerful “Purveyors of Unrest”. I am simply suggesting that this environment of hate, intolerance , and lack of civility contains a well organized and informed structure which is well financed, closely controlled and goal oriented. It operates like a Theocracy, led by people who are considered to be infallible in judgement to the point that their orders are treated as if they came from a divine source. Disobedience to the source is not tolerated. Talking points, the political process of plausible argumentative replies used to answer a difference of opinion, well they have become a holy mantra of justification.
The “third stretch” is recognizing that this particular Theocracy has also become a “Purveyor of Unrest” within the community of faith, the family of God and those who try each day to live a holy life. Yes folks we are like a bunch of frogs in a pot filled with water waiting to come to a boil. By the time we feel the heat it will be to late. We see what is going on around us but refuse to accept the fact that this “Theocracy of Hate” has allowed this purveyor to come among us and peddle daily the increments of unrest that weakens the faith. You may ask, what might these be? One of the most important and the one that leads us to the rest, is this insatiable desire to rewrite the Word as to its meaning so as to fit the demands of today’s society. Now I realize that a statement such as “meaning of the word” leaves open the process of opinion and that is not all bad. There are many within the church whose “opinions” are crafted to advance their agendas in order to consolidate their positions and power. Hey, you think I might have left the barn with a few less bales of hay than needed? Look at what those who held positions of power and influence in Christ’s day were willing to do to maintain and strengthen it. Call it what it was, a political murder.
I asked at the very first of this post “Where do we in the pew fit into this world of uncivil behavior driven by hate and thirst for power?” The answer for the committed Christian…….WE DON”T. The Kingdom of God is not of this world and we have been called out, to be different, to be a living example of the love of the Father for his children. We read in Isaiah 57: 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. The wicked will always be with us constantly causing problems which creates the unrest among the Community of Faith. So what to do. It might seem harsh but we cannot allow ourselves to be drawn along the path they have chosen to walk. If we are to have peace within or hearts and minds we must heed that which is written in Isaiah 57:21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” We must separate ourselves from their evil ways. You may interpret this however you wish. Let’s move on to Lamentations 5:5 Our pursuers are at our necks; we are weary; we are given no rest. Think about this for a moment. We are besieged by those who wish to marginalize our faith and denigrate our God. I will stretch a little more within this stretch. In Deuteronomy Chapter 12, verses 8-14 we are told God will choose a special place for His people to worship, rejoice and rest in the promised land. In verse 12:9 for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you. Even though this book is written before our reading of Lamentations there is some advice here that can be carried forward and makes sense. Amen, we have not yet come to that place. There is still work to be done and souls to be saved. Going back to Isaiah 59:8 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace. We as the Church cannot allow ourselves to be caught up in this
theocracy of hate which will sow the seeds of unrest among our community and weaken our ability to “Go Forth….” I close with these words of our Lord and Savior
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.