Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not Just Whistling Dixie

Life is a journey. I’ve used the term “learning curve” about half a dozen times this past week, as it is a big part of life’s journey. Maybe that's one of our greatest purposes, progressing along on the curve. I know that in discussing matters of differing Christian doctrine, I stated to someone recently that none of us has a corner on truth, and the real challenge in life is leaving our lives with a whole lot less heresy than when we entered into it. Discernment comes through experience, and our responsibility to exercise it always presses us. Learning the skill of balance between the innocence of a dove and the wisdom of a serpent takes a great deal of work that never ends for the Christian.

I’ve come full circle on the “Kinism learning curve” and the emerging Occidental Christianity. I had no clue. My husband, a graduate of a Southern college with training under one of the most renowned historians regarding the War Between the States, was quite taken by the initial concepts of “League of the South.” He took the mission and purpose of the organization prima facie, believing that this was an organization that fought for state rights, opposed governmental tyranny, defended agrarian freedoms and promoted Christianity. I came of age at a time when Christian conspiracy theories ran rampant as the first movements of Christian protest began to emerge. There was still an iron curtain, we had just emerged from the Iranian hostage situation, and economic times were just starting to improve. In my early twenties, I chose to participate in crisis pregnancy centers rather than picket, but I admired those who followed through on their convictions. Such was the climate of the day. That’s what good, committed, serious Christians my age did. So it pulled on my heart strings and opposing tyranny held great appeal.

I expressed a great deal of concern about this “League” to my husband however, because I am a strong advocate for equality and very much against hegemony (the posturing of one group over other subordinates). It appeared to be working for racial unity in a sense, healing the wounds of racism in the South. He assured me that this was a good organization that was first and foremost Christian in purpose. He investigated it at the time, to the best of his ability, finding nothing stating that the organization had any racist leanings. I’ve even attended conferences that different states groups have hosted, but this was however all before I had knowledge of this thing called kinism. But times, they’re always ‘a changin,’ aren’t they? I don’t know if it was 9/11 that set everything into a tailspin or whether it was just the natural progression of things. The aging and passing of good and balanced Christian leaders of yesteryear have not helped matters and the course of events. It’s been a heart wrenching and rude awakening for me.

Due to some catastrophic life events, I had no resources with which to be concerned about the state of things in Christianity at large, and then it became suddenly unavoidable. I picked up great momentum on that learning curve, as it seemed that all at once, people who I believed to be honorable and trustworthy suddenly became otherwise. I had coasted through a phase in life, too pressed to keep up with things, but I had convictions and checks along the way. I urged and pressed for a reevaluation of where we donated funds. I woke up. I questioned and reevaluated those groups that I trusted in times past based on my previous perspective on the learning curve and their gradual changes over time. I learned that many trusted Christian Reconstructionists now functionally advocate for theocracy and authoritarian versus libertarian ideals. I learned that the League of the South made position statements in favor of kinism (although the online documentation of this has recently disappeared). The Monroe-Moscow Axis presented itself. RC Sproul, Jr. seemed to lose more of his mind every day, and I waited for Dad to step in and do something. I’m glad that I did not hold my breath.

I look back on some of these events in shame, but I realize that it was all part of the learning curve that I pursued as a consequence of my service and worship unto the Lord. I regret that we ever gave a dime to the League of the South. I regret that we supported Chalcedon after RJR’s passing. I regret that we ever supported some of these creation science groups. I wish that we had stopped support of American Vision after they restructured and hired a Vice President with great affection for this so-called “Biblical patriarchy.” With the rise in popularity of Vision Forum and Howard Phillips’ actions concerning the pragmatic pro-life equivocation, I am deeply sorry that I ever supported the Constitution Party. I’m sorry that I took my husband’s word that RL Dabney’s views were consistent with my own without reading them for myself. I’m sorry to discover that my husband believed the words of others concerning Dabney without reading Dabney's words himself. But it’s all part and parcel of the learning curve.

The great challenge comes as one decides what one does when one realizes that they were in process and by virtue of good Christian character, trusted that what they took prima facie was appropriate. I believe that my personal actions and testimony have always demonstrated that I am dedicated to equality and freedom. (I'm still proud of the day that I tried to lean out of the car in the middle of a Shreveport KKK rally to scream "Jesus was a Jew" for lack of something more appropriate to say --in the US driveby shooting capital, even though they didn't care much about Jews in Shreveport. I'm proud of my work at the "charity hospital" there.) I was very good at the innocence of the dove, and the wisdom of the serpent came at a high price. I broke bread with kinists because I believed that they were my brethren and because I believed that our purposes were common. I trusted that they had no concern with race and that they argued in no way for the virtues of enslaving others. We were mistaken, and my husband and I repented. And at the other end of the learning curve, I’m pleased that I can have compassion for myself and for those who lead me astray. But that does not make it right. Like pendulums, we swing from extreme to extreme, hopefully learning how to be stable and plumb under the power of the gravity of Gospel. They are still my brethren, but I believe that they are in great error. I hope that they believe the same of me but will come to swing my way in time, as they venture on their own learning curves.

So praise God for the learning curve!!! I’m no longer what I was before and not all that I will be. My heart has been crushed and woven back together in, by and with God’s healing love. The learning curve means we are yet alive, growing and living from glory to glory in Christ. May I begin to worry when the rude awakenings stop -- May I always be rudely awakened by my own heresy and sin. And may I leave this life of learning curves with far less sin and heretical belief than I had when I embarked upon the journey. All glory be to God for His great grace and mercy towards me and those who trust in Him.
Honorable mention to Cynthia Gee for the clever title for this post.
[Late entry/addendum 21Dec07 AM: I have been asked to make a qualifying statement, so as not to misinterpret the and make false associations regarding the League of the South. My point in mentioning specific groups or individuals who argue for Dominionist or Christian Reconstructionists views as a source for knowledge about the League was meant to highlight that the knowledge came from a source that was viewed by us to be completely reputable and reasonable. It was because of our trust in the integrity of certain key persons or organizations that we trusted in the integrity of the other organizations that they would have recommended many years ago. I am now of the conviction that one is in error to argue slavery or to use other statements from those who advocated for slavery such as RL Dabney without a qualifying statement that repudiates the practice of slavery. Gary DeMar is one example of someone who does so online in qualifying articles about Dabney. Many of these groups or affiliated individuals many actually do so. My germane point references the Dominionist and other Chiristian Reconstructionists as trustworthy sources and not to imply racial related impropriety. My apologies to not stating this more clearly initially. /CMK]