As I noted in my last post here, I’ve taken a 4-week hiatus in order to devote my attention to a daily journal of the BJU Africa Team’s adventures in Tanzania, from which we’ve just returned. It was nice to be there, and it’s nice to be back.
In the interim, I’ve been thinking about the next adventure on this blog. I’d prefer to write about something I care about, of course, and something that might be of some help to people I care about. There are a lot of such things and such people, but I suppose the thing that’s most on my mind these days—at least of the troubling things—is the polarization of our country and the effect of that polarization on my friends.
I see it pretty much every day during my scrolling time on Facebook. I have a number of FB friends—many of them retired folks with long records of Christian service and care for others—whose postings are mostly a concatenation of forwarded stories and memes with recurring themes—
- Things that are just not true. I’ve addressed that here before.
- Things designed to stick a finger in the eye of liberals. Mockery. Disdain. I’ve written about that, too. “I’m not ashamed to post this MAGA hat. How many of my friends have the courage to share? Let’s show those stupid liberals!”
- Expressions of frustration with the way things are going. Fear that God’s people are going to lose the battle.
All of these things have a common theme. They read as though there is no God, and if there is, he’s not in his heaven, and all is not right with the world. These dear friends are expressing a godless worldview, one that gives no hope, no offer of grace, no attraction, to those who are actually godless.
That’s a very bad ambassador (2Co 5.18-20) indeed.
I have another group of friends, equally dear to me. I don’t suppose these folks would object to being called “never-Trumpers.” They don’t like President Orange, and they shake their heads at anybody who does, for any reason. “Can’t you people see what you’re doing? You’re destroying evangelical Christianity! You’re undermining our credibility for generations to come!” Tut, tut. The posts of these friends read as though there is no God, and if there is, he’s not in his heaven, and all is not right with the world. These dear friends are expressing a godless worldview, one that is dominated by fear, one that questions the motives and the intelligence—and even the spiritual life—of fellow believers. They, too, fear that God’s people are going to lose the battle.
These two groups of friends have more in common than they might think.
- Sometimes they post things that are true and ought to be considered in the political discussion.
- But in the main they’re just reflexively forwarding, without checking, anything that confirms their worldview bias.
- In being motivated primarily by fear or frustration, they’re demonstrating, as I said earlier, an essentially godless worldview.
God is never inattentive, or hurried, or frustrated, or unconcerned. He’s at work. He raises up kings—both Obama and Trump, most recently—and he sets them down again. All things he does are good and for the ultimate good of his people and, ultimately, his glory.
And if we believe these things—and we must, for they’re true—then we will live in a broken world with a different spirit—a different Spirit—one that brings to the observing enemies of God astonishment and even attraction. One that shouts—yes, that is the right word, as odd as it sounds in context—peace.
Not the peace of the Pollyanna or the Scarlett O’Hara (“I’m not going to think about that right now”), but the peace of the one who knows things that the riotous crowds don’t, who sees the chariots of fire on the hillsides all about, who knows that the chaos is only apparent.
I’d like for all my dear friends to grasp that so firmly that it oozes out of the pores of their every post— not for the sake of my newsfeed, but for the sake of my friends. Calming, conquering peace, way deep down at the core of their souls. And yes, for the sake of the legitimately fearful and frustrated, who have no source of peace, but who know people who do have it, or should have it.
What a difference we could make. What a stark contrast we could demonstrate.
In God’s kind providence, during this hiatus I’ve been studying Paul’s letter to Titus in some depth. I’ve found some things there that have helped clarify what I’ve been thinking about this bunch of troubled hearts. In this series, I’m going to share some of those things.
On to that next time.
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8
Michael R. White says
Welcome back. I eagerly anticipate your wit, wisdom, and insight on this most timely topic.
Mark Ward says
Classic Dr. O. The first part had me amenning at people who embarrass me; the second part made me stop and wonder if indeed I’m as guilty as they. I am a never-Trumper, indeed (the New York Times once used my favored term: “biblical refusenik”). But I *think* I’m not as guilty as the nice older Christian man who shared a “the Muslims are here to kill us all” meme (I wish I were joking), because I have consistently said that voting for Trump while holding one’s nose is a morally acceptable choice for a believer. I’ve also recoiled from the angerverse known as Twitter—in part because there my *friends* embarrass me. The virtue signaling and moral posturing and eagerness to take offense are exhausting for me. I like your approach. Christ reigns. And one day everything will be put under his feet. Keep writing!
Rich Hyde says
Thank you for your thoughts!