Friday, February 2, 2018
Healing Democrats and Republicans…and Maybe Even…
Healing Democrats and Republicans…and Maybe Even…
Just before a community Thanksgiving service almost 20 years ago,
I asked the editor of the local newspaper why she hadn’t included
any stories about the Confessing Church Movement in “her”
paper that wasn’t nearly as influential as she thought.
Parenthetically, the Confessing Church Movement was the
last serious attempt to return the PCUSA to Christianity
as patterned by Jesus, prescribed by Holy Scripture,
and upheld by over 2K years of confessional,
constitutional, traditional, historical, and
common sense Christianity.
Similar movements in other mainline denominations,
colleges, seminaries, NCC, and WCC
Aside from my assumption that it was a major news
story and warranted a few paragraphs because lots
of folks in “her” reading purview seemed interested
by unscientific random sampling, she was an elder
in a local church in that particular denomination.
She said, “I’m against it!”
I said, “I thought newspapers were supposed to report
not manage the news and let readers decide gravitas.”
We never talked again.
It confirmed my suspicion that today’s journalists
may “report” news juxtaposed to personal bias.
I sat with three of the “founding fathers” of
the Confessing Church Movement at a
swanky restaurant in Florida hosted
by a gentleman who really wanted to
bridge the expanding rift in the PCUSA.
A loyalist to the denomination regardless
of confession, conduct, or countenance
was also invited and began, “At least
we can agree that we have a lot
in common as Presbyterians.”
The proverbial founder of the movement
retorted, “Because we don’t agree on
Jesus, Holy Scripture, and the call
to holy living, we have
nothing in common!”
Not even halfway through my shrimp
cocktail, I thought with the tailor
in Fiddler on the Roof, “Rabbi,
wouldn’t this be a good time
for the Messiah to come?”
“If Christians can’t work out their problems with each other,
how in the anything but heaven are they ever going to
convince anyone that they can help put the world,
country and anyone else back together?”
Common Sense Commentary
“Beware of purists. To get anything done in this messy, contentious
world, you have to accept that other people have different values
and objectives than you do. The trick is to find some overlapping
middle ground where you get part of what you want…there
is a reasonable middle ground – if the purists
will let us get there.”
William Falk, The Week, February 2, 2018
If you’re like me, you’re beginning to wonder if today’s Democrats and Republicans are as mindless as they appear to be.
While their increasingly inflating egos are fed by America-wedging media outlets like CNN and Fox who need them to fill time slots, couches, cameos, and panels to pump up/down ratings with their flitting, flirting, and mugging like celebrities rather than stateswomen/men with values higher than perks, pensions, pockets, popularity, and polls, something seems wrong with their noodles or spines as they wait for party bosses to tell ‘em how to vote all together all the time no matter who, what, where, when, or why.
Common sense suggests some Democrats and some Republicans are thoughtful enough to vote conscience every now and then instead of party; or, maybe, just maybe, sadly, there’s a neo-goose-stepping reminiscent of another horrific chapter in human history when Deutschland’s brains and souls were mesmerized, anesthetized, and herded without murmurs of dissent or protest by party line.
Simply, if all Democrats vote as dictated by Nancy and Charles and all Republicans vote as dictated by Paul and Mitch, something must be rotten in the state of…
Really, there’s an old saying that goes, “Opinions are like, uh, whatever; and everybody’s got one!”
Are our elected government officials – which, by the way, may say more about us than them because we continue to vote for them – that mindless or unethical or co-conspiratorial with someone or something that conscience to dissent and protest from party lines have become as rare as
passion for preserving life from womb to tomb in Planned Parenthood, most mainline denominations, DC and Springfield?
How can Democrats and Republicans see things so differently from each other on just about everyone and everything all the time?
I’m reminded of a story told to me many years ago by Dr. James I. McCord who, in my estimation, was the last Biblically Christocentric braveheart to head some of our country and world’s most important former lampstands.
While about two mainline clergy, I see a parallel with the dolts in Springfield, DC, and so on.
A pastor confesses to a friend who is also a pastor, “I don’t know who I am or what I believe or what I should do or where I am going.”
His friend and peer consoles him, “Don’t worry about it! Most clergy and churches are going through the same thing.”
If you’re like me, you’re beginning to wonder how clergy and other politicians can be so divided about everyone and everything when God has been sooooooo clear about most things in Jesus by the book as confirmed by the historical confession of Christendom.
I am not suggesting Christians cannot disagree; but I am saying disagreement doesn’t mean God as revealed in Jesus and confirmed by over 2K years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, historical, traditional, and common sense Christianity is double-minded.
Just like today’s American government, America’s churches are double-minded about almost everything; but that does not mean God is double-minded. It means we are double-minded.
God has a will for everyone and everything.
God is not double-minded about what is best for us and what honors Him most.
We are double-minded about what is best for us and what honors Him most.
The only way to know God’s will is to take the time to become increasingly intimate with Him in worship, sacrament, Bible reading, prayer, fasting, and all of the other spiritual disciplines that tap into His will for our lives.
Always allowing for disagreement, there would be much less of it if we came to everyone and everything in/through/for Him.
Of course, that’s not happening.
There doesn’t seem to be any civil or ecclesiastical movement of any majority sentiment to approach everyone and everything in/through/for God as revealed in Jesus by the book.
So, in the meantime, everyone and everything seems to be going to…
Knowing we are not going to agree on everyone and everything, God has provided a pattern to get something done in the meantime.
God has provided a pattern for disagreeing agreeably and working together for the most part if not every part.
Read Matthew 18:15-17.
Here’s my understanding of God’s strategy in those verses for working together for betterment within a fallen world in which unanimity remains elusive because of our disinclination to take the time to align totally with Him as available in Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who, as one with Father and Son, never contradicts Jesus by the book.
God’s strategy for getting along better:
Try to work it out face to face.
If that doesn’t work, bring along a few fair and objective folks who will tell the truth to both of you while insuring neither of you is tempted to lie about the conversation to others at a later date.
If that doesn’t work, try a committee, board, or bunch of good folks to sort it all out.
If that doesn’t work, better stock up on ammo, water, and food because you won’t be able to avoid ‘em.
Yes, I have taken some hermeneutical liberties; but as Moody said to some folks who objected to the way that he did evangelism, “I prefer how I do it to how you don’t do it.”
Admittedly, if history is any indication concomitant to eschatological hints in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and John’s Apocalypse, you can stick a fork in hope.
Yet, if we still believe in mustard seeds and Genesis 18 remnantal recipes, maybe…
I go back to America’s founding mothers and fathers.
They were as boorish, irascible, irregular, and irreconcilable as today’s cast in government with one really, really, really big exception.
They cared more about the welfare of the country than lining their pockets and were willing to give up everything, even their lives, for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Alexander Hamilton disagreed with Thomas Jefferson on almost everything but threw his support to Jefferson for President over Burr because Jefferson had principles worth his life while Burr had none.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were bitter political enemies with the former being like today’s Democrats who want a strong central government and Jefferson like Libertarian-leaning Republicans who advocate personal liberty and states rights; yet they compromised for the sake of the country and ended their lives as friends because they had vision larger than their navels.
“You and I,” Adams entreated Jefferson, “ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other.”
“Come, let us reason together,” the Lord urges.
Pray about it!
Talk about it!
Spice it with grace, mercy, forgiveness, and a hunger and thirst for reconciliation and righteousness.
While history isn’t very encouraging and churches lead the losers in polemics over peace fueled by personal prejudices over the pattern of Jesus, prescriptions of Holy Scripture, and common sense, it’s worth a shot.
I mean, really, God will smile on the effort; and maybe, just maybe…
Blessings and Love!