January 01, 2009
New Year's Meditations
It is 8:30 p.m. Tokyo time on January 1, 2009. Today has been the first day of a new year and like many years I've seen, it has not started well. Israel is marching into the Gaza strip, Gazprom is shutting off gas and oil supplies to Ukraine, some of the worst weather in history is rolling through North America and Europe. On reflection, this might be the worst global New Year I've ever seen.
If nothing unexpected happens then in a few weeks Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States. Even though I supported him, and even though I am glad he was elected, I do not believe he will be able to reverse the tide of history. My one hope is that he will have enough political clout to shift the direction far enough that we can avoid the worst consequences of the many mistakes that have been made over the past forty years.
What do I mean by that? Well, it's kind of complicated.
Partly as a result of the spiritual and psychic trauma of having come through two world wars, in the early sixties American churches were beset by a massive wave of ennui and apathy. Church leaders themselves had begun to have doubts about the foundations of both their personal beliefs and the beliefs the United States of America was founded upon. Do not be mistaken by modern revisionists who cannot accept the published writings, diaries, and personal notes left to us by Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, George Washington and so many others. The United States of America was founded first and foremost as a Christian nation dedicated to protecting the rights and privileges of the individual. I know it will offend many modern people, but I can promise you this, there will be dire, long-standing consequences for the damage we have done by denying our foundational beliefs.
I am not saying God will pour down his righteous wrath and judgements on America in some kind of irrational Old Testament sense. Not in the least. God won't have to lift a finger. You see, the one detail every revisionist, every modern commentator, every perverse and unrighteous secular leader dedicated to "freeing us from the bondage of irrational religion" has overlooked is the simple, undeniable reality that Christian ethics and morals are neither abstract nor random. The laws of the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments, the Precepts of the Apostles, and every moral or ethical precept set out in the Bible has one purpose and one purpose only: helping you and I to avoid the unseen dangers inherent in the lifestyle choices the Bible encourages us to deny ourselves.
Adultery leads directly to vicious and unstoppable cycles of pain, anger, and revenge. Deception leads directly to equally painful cycles of mistrust and abuse. Killing people in revenge, in anger, in jealousy, or in any other passionate state starts the same violent cycles as adultery. If you abuse, misuse, or oppress people who serve you (either as citizens, employees, or slaves), then sooner or later those same people will rise up and destroy you. Biblical morality is the only way individuals within a society can deal with one another in justice and fairness.
Now I know modern Bible critics will tell you that the Biblical code is cruel and inhumane. They will point out passages like, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" and then ask, "Do we really need this kind of archaic morality in our daily life?"
And I agree, we don't need to take out eyes, stone adulterers, and so on. On the other hand, we do need to recognize that the behaviors the Bible prohibits have far-reaching consequences and all of those consequences are negative.
We need Christianity in modern America. We need freedom from our selfish, naturally self-destructive animal instinct toward raw, naked passions like lust, anger, jealousy, ambition, and domination. The one truth the revisionists, the atheists, the modernists, and the anti-Christian "equal rights" groups are denying is the simple reality that promiscuity, same-sex romantic entanglements, rebellion against any presentation of God, and other "life-style choices" they advocate are not freedoms at all. These kind of life choices lead directly into slavery to your own selfish passions and those passions lead directly to self-destructive patterns of behavior.
The damnation God wants us to avoid, and Christ died to free us from, is not just eternal damnation in a fiery hell. Not at all. If anything, hell will be a cakewalk compared to the pain, agony, dissonance, depression, and suicidal drive that personal addiction to selfish passion will bring. It's not about eternal damnation at all. It's really about having the richest, most fulfilling life possible right here on planet Earth. A life that is only possible if we have the power of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of loving friends to help us.
We don't need freedom to fulfill our selfish desires. No, what we really need is freedom from our selfish desires.
The last fifty years has seen the United States of America moving steadily and irresolutely into slavery to selfish passions. Once we are enslaved to our own passions, we will need a dictatorial, oppressive government to prevent us from destroying one another utterly and completely. The kind of "change" Barack Obama has promised to bring us cannot come from the Oval Office. No matter how hard he tries, Obama cannot save us from ourselves. The only person who can save us from ourselves is Jesus Christ.
I'm sorry. I know how offensive this is to so many people. But stop and look at the history of the United States. The dividing point is clearly World War I. Prior to World War I we worked hard to live our lives in accordance with the high ideals and self-discipline of our Puritan ancestors. After World War I we spent a few decades in apathy and self-delusion. One result of that dissonace was allowing, and in some circles encouraging, Hitler's rise to power. Over the past five decades we have been exploring every way of life possible except traditional Christianity and look where it has brought us!
This will be a pivotal year. If repentance and revival comes to North America than the entire world will benefit. If it does not, then the entire world will continue to spiral downward into economic collapse, global warfare, massive plagues, and ultimately, the end of life as we know it.
The choice belongs to each of us individually. Will we return to the ideals of our ancestors or will we continue to embrace the self-destructive lifestyles espoused as "freedom" by those leaders who either have no concept of the consequences those lifestyles bring or who are secretly hoping to take advantage of those consequences for their own self-aggrandizement.