Friday, December 21, 2007

May the Lord Alone Rise Again (Neither North nor South)

I believe that truth emerges and vindicates itself, especially for those who have faith in God. In that sense, not much if anything can ultimately work against truth. As a Christian, that is my first and foremost desire – to know the truth and be set free, more and more. But perception is a tricky thing, whenever it appears contradictory and paradoxical, and from different perspectives, the truth can look very different. I drove through a bank the other day, and noted how different the bank looked from the front and from the back. To hear a man in the front of the bank describe the entrance and then to hear another man describe the drive through teller lanes, one might be confused or believe that both men could not be speaking of the same building. Is either man wrong? Is either man a “tale bearer”? The wise one would say not. Without self assurance or trust in the truth, one man might easily call another a liar and be completely truthful based on his own understanding.

This is no easy thing. Many founding fathers criticized James Madison, Godfather of the US Constitution, as one who argued in opposition to the Federalists. Yet he was a formidable force with great tenacity. Was he wrong? Perhaps, or did he see something that others did not? Did he fail to appreciate the view of his critics, or were they in error? I’m certain that there is One who knows.

With the consideration of the neo-Confederate on my mind, I am reminded of Mark Noll’s book on the War of Northern Aggression entitled “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.” In that book he examines only the theological arguments presented by both the pro-slavery groups as well as those who argued for abolition. In many ways, he states that the arguments for the South were more robust, but it was ultimately given to the "Reverend Doctors William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S Grant" to determine the truth. We then engaged in what I used to know as the bloodiest war in American History. The North used the case of slavery as a cover for economic exploitation of the South, something Noll does not discuss. And the Reconstruction of the South was very much like its own little war. By all constitutional rights, the Confederacy should have been permitted to secede, but Lincoln won the war, so here we find ourselves.
It is interesting that we find many rehashing over these old political arguments and dipping into the ideology of the past and the Bible in order to pioneer our way through our future. I’ve been around a few sides of a large and complex building of life, well aware of my perspective. Presuppositions have a great deal to do with our perspectives concerning matters of theory and ethics. I am studied in the Word, I am sensitive to the Spirit of God through my cultivated relationship with Him, and I am captive to my experience. All these speak and communicate what I believe is like a “system of checks and balances” all working to help me discern my course in life. When my “roof started to come off”, my heart condemned me, and I trusted that God was guiding me into all truth through each one of these elements, pressing on my whole being. I followed what I believe, based on all these factors, into a place where I now stand before God with confidence towards Him.

A friend of mine took a (British) online political survey that placed the participant on grid accounting for economics and social concerns. She called me to help her understand the meaning of the survey, and asked me what the correct position was. I fell somewhat near Milton Friedman in the Libertarian Quadrant which was no great surprise to me. Most all of our current 2008 political candidates (both Right and Left) fell into different positions in the same quadrant, no where near me. My friend fell right on the horizontal axis and very near the intersection.
"Where should I be?" she asks. I laughed and said that all quadrants were needful, for if everyone were like me, we would have a free-for-all for a society. If everyone alive were in the quadrant where most musicians fell, we would all surely starve to death. If all people fell into the quadrant that favored control, we would surely live in a totalitarian state (more so than we do now might I add). If indeed her goal was balance of perspective, then I told my friend that she would win the prize. We are what we are by God’s design and need one another. Yet I believe that we are under no fewer obligations to love all these our neighbors as ourselves, both the believer and the unbeliever.

It is my belief that many of my brethren from the upper right quadrant visited here in this place I have shaped in cyberspace recently. I believe that I’ve actually met some of you personally. Let me say that I ventured through your quadrant once and believed your perspective. Many aspects of it were true and honorable, but I believed that we held common ideals because I wanted to see them there. But with all honesty and with experience, I now stand in the only place that I believe Providence would have me. If that makes me a libertine or a feminist or a humanist or a heretic in your eyes, then call me what you must. But I ask that you consider this paradigm I present here before you do.

I learned yesterday that a notable figure in the patriarchy movement called for a "cease-fire" for the holidays. I didn’t believe that we were at war with one another, but rather a calling back and forth from each of our vantage points, hopefully all pointing in the direction of that City who’s Builder and Maker is the Lord. I hope with all my heart that all the people that I mention here, particularly those over the past month or so, are pointed at that Eternal Home. My efforts are not personal for the sake of strife but they are my contending for my perspective and my own understanding in full confidence towards God. Mark Noll says in his aforementioned book that our nation was given a wonderful roof of rights and freedoms through the Constitution, but our nation in the 1800s lacked “walls” of commonality. I’m saddened to see that within the Church and within our nation, this is very much still the case. In that sense, we are engaged in a war of ideology.

So let me take the opportunity for this record in cyberspace that I believe that our disparagements here are those of perspective and not matters of Biblical Authority. I believe, however, that it is wrong to enslave or surreptitiously manipulate any man, and stating that racism is a "wax nose" stands inadequate. From my vantage, my heart condemns me not, and I rally here for my brethren in my quadrant. Concerning some of these political perspectives within Christianity of both the Church and the State, I believe that we are just in different quadrants but all working according to God’s providential plan. I intend to stand where my heart condemns me not with faith in God’s continued guidance. I am committed to speak the truth, describing my perspective that views many brethren as false teachers. Some I believe to be wolves in sheep’s clothing, as I have been likewise accused. And some just have a different framework than I. For those aggressors who accuse me of heresy, defamation and bitterness, I ask that you seek after God and ask that He continue to bring us all into all truth. I honor your tenacity. I believe that Our Father is at work in all these things. So I bless you and ask for God to continue to bring you into the fullness of your high callings in Christ. Know that the only war I wage is against deception.

The only wars I intend to wage are those against lies, deception and tyranny. May the Holy Lord of All establish Himself and His truth in the hearts of all men. To that end, I will wage spiritual warfare, in season and out. Here I stand, God help me.