Saturday, October 22, 2016

Because They do

This post was original published on August 21, 2015, over one year ago. Where do we find ourselves now?

Pre-election America brings out the best and the worst about us and shows it to the world. Pre-presidential election America, that is. No one really cares much about the other elections, but the year leading up to the next presidential election is full of entertainment for the masses, aggravation for the intelligent, and hope for the believers. The believers? Yes, that’s people like myself, who still believe in the promise of America, in spite of it all. Call us naïve, but we are the eternal émigrés, people constantly on the move, west, always west, always seeking the paradise in the west. We can’t help ourselves.

For me, it runs in the family. My paternal grandfather, Casimir, left his native Poland—it was from the Prussian province of Posen—and traveled west across Brandenburg, stopping awhile in Hanover, and then taking ship at the free city of Hamburg, for the land of the farthest west, America. That was in 1902, when he was 22 years old. Oddly, that was my age when I left my birth place in Illinois and immigrated to Canada, destination Edmonton, in the west. I didn’t stay there long, where I first landed. Neither did grandpa. He went from Florida to Illinois before he settled down. Me, I didn’t stop till I reached Oregon.

People are all creatures of belief, even when they are deniers. They may deny that they believe in God, or in the goodness of humanity, or in politics, history, or art, but their actions always give them away. The worst of us believe in the worst things, and even when we say there’s no such thing as a real right or wrong, we still find ourselves condemning, or at least distancing ourselves from, people whom we think believe, and do, bad things. The goodness and badness are both relative. Hitler and the Nazis believed in their cause, racial purity, and thought themselves good. The horror of their actions didn’t bother them.

The American political spectrum ranges from persons who look like they are capable of Hitleresque, or at least Napoleonic, excesses, all the way to persons who speak and act almost as if politics didn’t, or shouldn’t, exist at all. It is the latter group that I tend to identify with. Face it, government, at least all good government, boils down to people living together in peace and safety with as little interference by the collective authority as possible. The primitive communists had this right. In the end, government itself should disappear. Why shouldn’t it? Civilized behavior overtakes the world, fear is eliminated.

Unfortunately, it’s obvious we’re not there yet, nowhere in the world, not even in Switzerland. Not bringing ‘religion’ into the mix because it’s proven to be incapable of helping us in the long run, it’s still true that Christ is not finished with humanity, hasn’t given up on us. No, not yet, not from His glorious throne in the heavens, where we have banished Him. Yes, Christ isn’t finished with us. He still has a lot to say. He’s sent Someone into the world that will finish the work He became a man to do. The gospels, stripped of religion, are still the most persuasive and effective cure for mankind ever written. Just read them.

But don’t stop there. Don’t stop to smell the roses, or the incense, in the pursuit of the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Give in to what you say you want—life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, especially the last, because it is, without a doubt, identical to the gospel pursuit of the Kingdom—don’t just say you want it and then go back to sleep and dream while others do everything in their power to keep it from you. Our political system may separate church and state, but on an entirely different level the two cannot be separate if we are who we say we are, if we live the gospel, not just talk about it.

Christ is still the most relevant and the most powerful person in human history, especially when we don’t just stand around worshiping Him and pleading, ‘Lord, have mercy,’ especially when we don’t leave His words at the altar and pulpit but take them with us. They are the keys that open every door, and open doors that no one can shut. Christ Himself calls them ‘the keys of the Kingdom,’ gives them personally and permanently to us, again, not for religion, but for transformation, for salvation of the whole human race, starting with us, right now, where we live. His words make every citizen king.

Not only America, but the entire world, is to become what the idea of America is only the shadow of. This is not a theocratic police state. Leave it to fundamentalist religion to scare us into fearing a sadistic god of hell-fire and damnation. But the God-man Jesus Christ has hulled the kernel of freedom from its religious shell by His mighty words, just as He has liberated the dead from hell by His glorious resurrection. Yet it is still up to us to hear His words and do them, for then the Kingdom of God cannot but follow, just as the dead in Hades must trust Him to lead them out, or else forever remain bound. Yes, trust, obey.

This year, it seems, we are very close to having hit bottom in a free fall that has been anything but free. The presidential election a year from this November can be just another replay of the same, bogus political soap-opera that has captured the American Dream and boxed it up for resale to the highest bidder, leaving us exitless, passengers on a sinking ship. Is that too many metaphors in one sentence? Yes, I’m afraid this has been a very poor piece of writing, and probably confusing too. Is my ‘message’ religious or political? I mean, am I advocating being a better Christian, or just voting as one? Well, yes, and no.

Yes, be a better Christian, by all means, ‘seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness’—yes, His, not ours. How can you vote as a Christian if you are not following Christ, hearing His words, and putting them into practice? No, don’t vote as a Christian if that means reasserting Christian power politics on a nation that must certainly by now be sick of ‘great awakening’ pride. Beyond yes and no, beyond even the next election, we are finally at a place where we can see the failure of human politics and religion to put anything right. Only Truth, only Christ who is truth in Person, as always is calling.

To respond to that Truth, to not compromise with what our conscience knows is right, but to hold it inviolable, and to think, speak, and act on it, no matter what others say or do, that is as always ‘the winning ticket.’ Now, take that to the primaries, and to the polls come that far November. Meanwhile, live and work as if the world depended on you, and as if God Himself commanded, because They do.

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