I’m not much of a political pundit. I suppose this is because I’m a child of my generation, born wedged at the end of Generation X and at the beginning of Generation Y (according to the venerable Wikipedia). I’m an old Millenial or a baby GenXer, one way or the other. I have skepticism and disillusionment deep in my bones, and I would say apathy is a nice way of describing the sort of mountain I have to overcome most days. I have a deep distrust of the political establishment, little to no hope that anything that takes place inside the District’s beltway amounts to more than paper shuffling (at best) and various schemes to make money, have sex with page boys, and abuse power (at worst).
I didn’t vote for Romney or Obama because they both smell like corporate and political BS from a mile a way. I could kind of get excited by someone like Ron Paul since he said extremely reasonable things and didn’t make ridiculous promises couched in meaningless rhetorical fluff. But he has his problems too.
At the end of the day, I’m a Bible thumping fundy. I don’t mean in the “don’t drink/don’t smoke” variety. In fact as a Bible believing Christian, I think the legalization of marijuana is a good thing because if God had wanted governments to criminalize mind-altering drugs, He would have said so and He didn’t. I happen to believe that smoking dope is something like drunkenness and so there’s that, but I don’t think it should be against the law to drink a bottle of Jack Daniels and puke your guts out the next morning. The Biblical name for that is stupid, but it ain’t against the law to be stupid. Now, if you run someone over in your 4×4 while three sheets to the wind, you ought to have the book thrown at you. I drink and smoke and play cards and dance like a fool with my wife and kids. So I’m not talking about that kind of fundy.
No, I mean I’m a fundy because I believe what the Bible actually says. It says an old man named Noah built a boat and all the animals got on board two by two. I believe in the Sunday School pictures, and I believe in the screams of all the drowning people on the mountain tops and all the floating corpses that didn’t make it into the Sunday School flannel graph materials. I believe God made the world in six ordinary days and rested on the seventh. I believe evolution is a cacamaimie story dreamed up by imaginative men in white suits who are mucho blindo (that’s Spanish for very blind). (But remember, I don’t think it should be against the law to be stupid.) I believe in the Red Sea crossing, talking donkeys, and that one time a shepherd boy sunk a smooth stone into the forehead of a giant named Goliath. I also believe Daniel had an angel teach him to tame the lions, and his three buddies walked in the flames with the same angel and came out without a whiff of smoke on their garments.
Now that’s just a bunch of stories for most people, but the Bible also says that a man shouldn’t put his penis into another man’s anus. And I know that’s crass, but there are a bunch of people calling that sort of behavior “love.” The Bible calls it an abomination. And well, that’s just not how sex works, you know? The Bible’s name for it is sodomy, and the Bible says it’s the kind of stupid you get when you reject the good God who made this mind blowing world. And now in California it’s apparently against the law to counsel people against performing these sexual acts on each other.
The Bible also says that all human life bears the image of its Maker and is to be protected and defended until or unless it is explicitly forfeited by biblical standards of justice. That means that ramming scissors through the necks of little babies is barbarian and disgusting. Small people who are still inside their mothers are still people, and the mass murder of these, our weakest brothers and sisters, by means of chemicals and sharp objects is called a holocaust. The Bible also says that people who know God should be on the front lines of caring for all the functional widows, unwed mothers, teenage pregnancies, etc.
So don’t get me wrong: I believe exactly what Jesus says about loving enemies, doing good to the evil, loving the unlovely, befriending prostitutes, homosexuals, and tax collectors and inviting them to repent of their sins and walk in the light of the Kingdom of God. I believe that the way of Jesus is the way of love, the way of mercy, the way of friendship, community, sharing. But I believe this grace only and always comes packaged in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the lamb of God, stricken, smitten, and afflicted. It doesn’t come by running up credit card debts into the trillions and calling it social services or staging a highway robbery in tuxedoes and calling it taxation.
The Bible says that Jesus died to take away the sins of the world. His blood was shed to make the foulest, most disgusting sinners completely, wonderfully clean. And that’s why we tell the truth about sin. Jesus suffered and bled for sodomites, for prostitutes, for mothers who ordered the execution of their babies and for the doctors who murdered them. Jesus hung till He died for the generals and politicians who ordered the unjust bombing of civilians. Jesus bled and died to provide cleansing for corrupt officials who take bribes, who lie and steal and cheat, and crush the hopes and dreams of the poor and the needy and the elderly.
In other words, there is grace, there is love, there is mercy, but nothing but the blood of Jesus will bring it.
So here’s the point of this post: I have a hard time even caring about this election, though I see friends terribly disappointed, others shocked, many dismayed, and perhaps a few cheering and excited. But here’s one thought: the American Church for the most part is full pastors and people who in the name of grace and peace and mercy and love are mostly lisping pansies. I know because I’ve been one of them. I’d rather not fight. I’d rather not say offensive things. I’d rather be liked, be friends, be nice. It’s easier that way. It’s easier not to care. But Jesus was a trouble maker.
I’m no Republican by any stretch, and I don’t think the Church is or ought to become synonymous with any political party. But in the providence of God, I do think that the Republican Party represents the American Church quite well. It’s full of smarmy, luke warm, tentative, flip-flopping, spineless do-gooders. Mitt got the nomination because he represented us well, as embarrassing as it is.
The reason Obama and the Democrats had such a great showing is because they actually stood for something. Instead of a bunch of throat clearing and apologizing and footnoting and clarifying, they spoke clearly and loudly into the microphone. They stood for gay marriage, they stood for abortion on demand, they stood for socialized medicine, they stood for stealing from the rich, they even (momentarily) said they didn’t believe in God. Mitt stood for well, I mean, not quite like that, exactly, but sort of, except better, and not so much of the bad stuff.
At least Democrats have balls.
Which incidentally is why so many kids grow up and leave the Church. I’m not blaming the Democrats, mind you, I’m just saying that the Church needs to grow a set. People are always attracted to love, and they can always smell fakers and posers in the room. For all the lies, liberals really love what they believe in. They suffer, bleed, and die for their idiocy. And this isn’t a call for some kind of chest thumping, tarzan Calvinism. That’s just another version of Mormonism which is just Islam-for-Weenies. No, real masculinity dies. Real men imitate Jesus, real men tell the truth, love the unlovely, bring healing to the broken, and take responsibility for the mess they find around them, regardless of how it got there.
So that’s where we conclude: whatever your appraisal of the election, whether you’re disappointed and angry or largely apathetic like me, we are called to repent and follow Jesus. That means that we tell the truth clearly, we speak into the microphone and call sin: sin, evil: evil, injustice: injustice. It means taking responsibility for your life, for your marriage, for your family, for your job, for this nation, and getting busy cleaning it up. And you don’t clean it up by barking orders and making demands. You don’t clean it up by complaining and whining and making excuses. You don’t clean it up by going limp on the couch and dulling your shame with a few more beers. You clean it up by covering it with the blood of Jesus. You confess your own sins and repent of them, you speak the truth in love, you pray that the Father would send the Spirit, you forgive those who trespass against you, you work hard at an honest job, you pay off your bills, you kiss your wife, you give to the poor, you worship Jesus with a loud, thankful voice every Sunday, and you teach your children to love it all.
Maybe that’s just fundy politics, but I suspect that if God would bless us with a few million men like that, we’d call it reformation.
My first thought after the announcement of who won the presidency was, “Well, maybe it’s better that we hit the bottom going 100 miles an hour instead of a slow and painful death.” The reality is we to repent and not just sugar-coat our sins. This is well said my friend.
Good stuff. Thanks Toby. BTW gay marriage is in limbo in CA at the moment but I imagine it will be sorted out pronto now.
You kinda nailed it.
Pray for courage, men of America. These are rough times and I get the feeling we are going to be called to true men more than ever before.
Thanks, Toby. This is so encouraging. A Christian politic I can endorse wholeheartedly.
Nah, that’s not why the Republicans lost. The Republicans lost because an increasingly securlar society understands conservative arguments and rejects them. Don’t forget, there were GOP candidates who also spoke loudly and clearly into the microphone — Rick Santorum, for example — who couldn’t even get past the nominating process. Had a hard core conservative like Santorum gotten the nomination, the GOP bloodbath would have been even worse than it was.
You guys lose because people don’t agree with you. It’s that simple.
Kevin Long says
I second what N.I. says. Fundamentalist religious ideals are on their way out–it is quantifiable. We aren’t all going to hell in a handbasket though– we are realizing what it takes to make a more tolerant, loving world instead of living by rules created by illiterate desert dwellers 2000 years ago.
I suppose by “illiterate desert dwellers” you are referring to Solomon, Plato, Aristotle and a host of other desert dwellers who were in fact far from illiterate. This, my friend, is modern arrogance. We think that because we have cell phones and internet we are far superior to those who preceded us. Yet, we are only operators. Most of us have no idea how light travels to carry the signal from those devices. Most of us have little knowledge of the mathematics involved in the engineering of these devices. If the modern world suffered a world-wide catastrophic event, it is likely that we would be far inferior to those desert dwellers who built great ships, estimated the circumference of the earth and wrote great works of literature. What is my point? It is never sound reasoning to reject an idea due to its popularity or age. Unless we begin to understand that our problem is not our political philosophy or the intelligence of our leaders; but rather a rebellious, idolatrous and sinful heart, we will continue debating nonsensical issues like ‘Democrat vs Republican’. My apologies if I have been unjustly harsh.
This is a horrible piece of writing. Also, ‘if God had wanted governments to criminalize mind-altering drugs, He would have said so and He didn’t.’ Well if god wanted people NOT to own other people he would have said so and he didn’t. What kind of god do you have?