What a mess.
On the right side of the aisle, the nominee for the President of the United States is a vulgar representation of the American male. Recent revelations only confirmed what we already knew – Donald Trump is more John Kennedy than John Adams. On the left side of the aisle, the nominee for the leader of the free world is a liar, schemer, enabler, profiteer along the lines of Hugo Chavez and Jean-Claude Duvalier. One of them will hold the title Commander-in-Chief. Excuse me while I go throw up.
By now, like me, you’ve read blogs and columns all across the spectrum predicting what will happen when one of the two nominees takes office. “If Hillary Clinton wins…” or “If Donald Trump wins…” To the extent the prophecies are true, none of us knows. In hindsight, conservatives thank Ronald Reagan for his appointment of Antonin Scalia to our Supreme Court but shake their heads in amazement at the legacy of Sandra Day O’Conner.
I’ve read Facebook posts from strangers and people I love warning, “We are going to lose our freedoms.” My answer, “Yes, we probably will.” I propose we will continue to lose freedoms without regard to who wins the upcoming national elections. To the best of my knowledge, the freedoms the people of the United States and much of Western Civilization have enjoyed during the 18th – 20th centuries has been an anomaly for the people of God and those who would live righteously. The Bible presents a history of God’s people living under intense opposition. Church history flows with the horrors of exiles and executions for those who will live godly in Christ Jesus.
- Joseph suffered deeply for his righteous living.
- Daniel lived righteously in exile from his homeland only to meet with extreme hatred from accusers.
- Jeremiah preached the Word of God to his own people and his own king attacked Jeremiah for his sermons and writings.
- The nation of Israel suffered under the bondage of Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria. For any who might say, “they got what they deserved,” remember not everyone was a rebel against God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved God and His word and were still thrown into the fiery furnace.
- The pages of the New Testament record the murders of John the Baptist and Stephen, the scattering of Christians across the empire, and the beatings of so many faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
- Church history tells of William Tyndale, John Bunyan, the Huguenots, John and Betty Stam, and untold numbers of those who have suffered loss of life, employment, or family because of commitment to Jesus Christ.
- Our own country owes much of its origins to the religious persecution of the puritans who fled Europe and England after refusing to compromise religious convictions and regularly facing the sword and chains.
Our brief period of religious freedoms is not the norm of human history. The exception to the rule is freedom; the rule is opposition. If history teaches us anything, we can assume freedom will wane for the faithful.
True freedom existed for humanity in the Garden of Eden. Every expression of freedom since the fall has been temporary and a shadow. Because evil wars against righteousness, those who embrace righteousness will be in the crosshairs of those who call evil good. Why should expect our lives to be any different?
In the Old Testament the prophets of God and faithful followers called out kings and people of influence for their debauched living, immoral rule, and abusive policies. We should do no less. Fight against abortion. Stand up against welfare schemes that oppress the poor. Decry the rebellion against the creator that is gender identity or so called same-sex marriage.
In the New Testament the apostles prepared Christians for persecution to come or instructed them how to respond to the persecution at present. Faithful pastors must do the same. The best your pastor can do is to preach to you what Paul and Peter wrote to the early church who knew very little of freedoms and nothing about a “Bill of Rights.” While the freedoms we love and have so wonderfully enjoyed mean a great deal to us, those freedoms are not necessary to live faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ.
I am not certain if I will have more to say on the coming election. I am sure of this: I will need to say more from the Bible to myself, to my family, and to you about how to live faithful to Christ in a culture increasingly hostile to Jesus and his followers.
This is the new norm.
As always, I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.