It’s been a week hasn’t it? I’ve had a pretty cautious response to the supreme court’s recent ruling. It’s not going to make a bit of difference in my home state. If anything Illinois’ abortion rates will increase.
But what I’ve been listening to and reading, from both political sides, is that this is a watershed moment in American History. It’s a moment so divisive that it’s going to, possibly, divide us into more than one nation.
I’m not sure I fully believe that
I lived through the 60’s and 70’s, a time when people were as divided as they are today. Culturally our country was changing dramatically. I had an uncle who was a bona fide hippie. Long hair, wire rimmed glasses and a draft card. He was adored by my babysitter, mourned when he got married. His white wife appropriated an afro as her hairstyle.
70’s fashion had some moments
The 60’s and 70’s became known for violent anti-war protests. Families divided over culture and politics. Draft dodgers immigrated to Canada. Drugs were rampant on high school and college campuses. Couples eschewed marriage, claiming it was antiquated and patriarchal. Women tossed and burned their bras, (well…some, 60’s fashion wasn’t great either).
Culturally America was being rocked to it’s core
But as a child during those years, my life was about as uncomplicated as it could get. My neighborhood was free, open and relatively safe. We played outside till the lights went down. No phones, tablets, game consoles, or computers to distract us from our imaginations. We rode bikes, skated down the sidewalk, dove into and out of each other’s homes and backyards with little or no interference by our parents.
My own kids don’t know what that is like
I think, having that kind of childhood under my belt allows me to have a hope for our country, culture and future. It gives me a foundation about what can be. There is a resilience, deep in my core that comes from a childhood of having to work things out, compromise, bend and adjust. If children can be as free and united over play, can’t we adults figure out how to manage the more complex issues of life today?
Oh I hope so!
Because I’m wearing out! I’d love for life to be about something other than political discourse and culture wars. My daily life isn’t necessarily affected by many of the issues that people are vehemently arguing about.
I’d love to enjoy my life without feeling like I need to apologize for it
I’ll vote, but I won’t necessarily talk much about it. I hold dear my opinions on issues of the day. I feel strongly about many things and I’m flexible on others. But I’m not going to advertise my opinions widely. Maybe for fear of riling someone up, and having to deal with the fallout on social media platforms. But largely because I’m simply
If my goal is to make this country a Christian country I’ve missed the point. No where in the Bible does it ask me to make a secular nation into a Christian one. Jesus commanded me to ‘make disciples’ not governments. And while I can vote my conscience about all the various ills, hoping for restraint that makes them less heinous, they will always exist.
Abortion has been in this country since it’s inception and it will be here till Jesus returns. None of the cultural sins that Christians lament are new to God. Maybe they’re more exposed and prevalent but they aren’t new.
“What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” Ecclesiastes 1:9
In fact, a quick read of Ecclesiastes 1 laments the idea that anything is new. Solomon, the original Bi-Polar King, (no insult, Bi-polar folks) had a lot to say about the futile state of mankind. If I, as a believer, fall into Solomon’s mindset
I can lose all hope (about a lotta things)
What I must do is learn how to co-exist with others who disagree with me. I need to draw on some playground skills. Tap into my store of resilience and flexibility. No matter what I believe about Biblical truth, to fully impose it on a pluralistic society is, dare I say it,
I am not OT Israel, I am a NT Christian. And NT Christians were born into a world of stark Biblical immorality. Rome was anything but a Christian nation. The NT authors never imagined Christian nations, if anything they fully expected to be martyred for their faith. It stood in complete opposition to the gods and Caesars of Rome.
Constantine made a compromise about Christianity that stands to this day. Be baptized, pay a fee and you can be a Christian, and Christianity lost it’s greatest advantage…
It’s status of being in the world and not of it
So what do I do as a believer when I live in a democratic republic that provides me with freedoms unknown to many, before America’s time?
Firstly, thank God! Never in the history of the world has a country held the religious freedom that America does. We can freely attend, worship and speak of our faith without fear of reprisal. We can teach it to our children and our grands.
For me, this is America’s greatest virtue
Secondly, I want to live in such a way that I try to extend my freedoms, rights and abilities to any and all who cannot fully realize them. Examine laws and lawmakers with a Biblical definition of a just society. Vote in ways that expand America’s privileges to people who may not be as fully empowered as me.
And lastly, remembering that I live in 2 places at the same time has never been more key. One is temporal and it’s sins (all of them) will be judged by an eternal King. The other kingdom is an eternal one.
It has always been and always will be
When discourse disintegrates into hostility about the temporal kingdom and all its sins, (abortion ain’t the only one), I keep my hope set on the eternal kingdom. I remember that how I live my life, how I speak and how I treat others, is a peek into the windows of that kingdom.
“Love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” Mark 12:30-31
Jesus was an earthy kind of guy. Sinners liked him. He could be among them and not compromise himself. He even shared meals with them…
A total taboo for his ‘righteous’, religious community!
Is that true of me? Does my love for God overflow in me so that it reaches to my neighbors and community? Am I living in a bubble that only brings me in contact with people just like myself? Do I intentionally step into places where I provide a sneak peek into that eternal kingdom’s window?
As this July 4th approaches, and our nation seems awash in turmoil and anger, remembering that there is an overarching providential plan for all mankind has never been more needed. America is simply one more tool in God’s toolkit for achieving his eternal plan for mankind
And I am privileged and fortunate enough to have been born into it