This is a big one folks. It really is. There are many who cannot balance politics and religion. More importantly, they don’t understand that there are absolutely essential times when both should be completely separated, and also times they are linked at the hip for their very survival. A blog post trying to make clear the murkiness of that little pond would take more time to read than I can muster to write today. But… At a minimum we should examine what happens in places and to cultures where freedom is absent.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time enjoying apologetics and I’ve supremely fancied watching Ravi Zacharias on YouTube as well as listening elsewhere. In one of his responses to a question about homosexual marriage he delved deeply into illuminating what kind of culture we are living in. This of course is a logistics issue. By that I mean, the culture you live in may not obviously be the same in middle Asia, or Ethiopia, or Greenland.
If we take the United States of America for example, are we a Theonomous culture? “Theos” meaning God, “nomos” meaning law. The founders of this nation were deeply rooted in a Theonomous culture, as evidenced by how they set up our country and the basic responsibilities put upon us all as citizens. “We hold these truths to be self evident…” and such. Are we a Theonomous culture today? Nope.
What about a Heteronomous culture? “Heteros” meaning other, and “nomos” meaning law. So the leaders at the top, mullahs, ayatollahs, etc. are dictating to the rest when they do things, with whom, how to worship, etc. Are we a Heteronomous culture? Nope.
What’s left? Yup. You guessed it. We’re an Autonomous culture. “Autos” meaning self, and “nomos” meaning law. Each person dictates our own moral prerogatives now… Ugh. This one makes for a wild ride and can be scary at times. Why? Our autonomy is constantly in conflict with everyone else’s, is it not? When my friend says she thinks all guns should be banned, and I disagree, does she leave me with my autonomy and enjoy her own, or does she switch to a heteronomous mode and try to dictate to me her version of what should and shouldn’t be? See? The belief structure matters and can leave you out in the cold, even when you’re right. This is a problem all Christians will face. While it hasn’t been especially hard in America compared to many other countries with varying cultures, it sure is becoming tougher here.
Essentially we’re locked into a fight over autonomy. Christians are fighting in a disadvantaged position because we no longer enjoy the comforts of a Theonomous culture. Yet, we still have the freedom to worship as we see fit, right? Maybe not. If I don’t want to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, I can be sued, lose my business and my home, and hand the check from the liquidation over to the couple I said “no thank you” to by only adhering to my Christian beliefs and by exercising my right to refuse service.
My freedoms and basic civil rights are safe, right? Even that is beginning to shrink. It’s incremental, but it is happening. As we watch the government by way of laws, by way of court rulings, by way of local ordinance, resolution, or code, diminish the way we worship and especially the practice of our Faith, we continue to see freedom eroded. Oh, and don’t get side tracked on the word ‘government’ as it is comprised of mortal men and women.
I could spend days covering these kinds of topics, but the fact is, when I used the word ‘incremental’ above, that was a key. When you look in the mirror, do you notice how much you have aged this morning as compared to yesterday? Nope. I sure don’t, and frankly, I’m not an attractive person… So if my ugly mug gets a pass from day to day, when do we actually notice significant changes in our appearance? It pains me to say it, but Faceook is good for this. I can pop down through albums back to 2008, and see in an instant that I look different. I have crow’s feet now, I’m heavier, I certainly have less hair, and that small amount I retain is very silver along the edge and far less blonde… Does this sound like any of you? If it doesn’t, trust me, it will shortly…
The point is, tiny little changes over time add up. We may not notice with each day, but the little things add and add and add to the point we’ll no longer recognize ourselves in the mirror. Don’t believe me? No prayer in schools? It matters. Colorado cake makers forced to accommodate customers under threat of law no matter their beliefs? It matters. Florida Ministry forced to choose between Jesus and feeding the poor? It matters. Missouri churches forced to attain permits to baptize the reborn? It matters. California Christians jailed for reading their bibles “too close” to government offices? It matters.
We better be fighting for our freedom here in America. We better be learned on the issues, as we have a responsibility on a religious and civic level to do so, and thus make good decisions with our votes. I can promise you very few things, less two. You’re going to push up daisies at some point. …And if you don’t fight for your rights here in the post-modernist society progressives have erected, you will not retain them. You can take that to the bank…
Does anyone remember Israel’s history after the Exodus? It is fitting for us to remember some of Deuteronomy when we reflect on government.
Deuteronomy 1:13-15 – ‘Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ You answered me and said, ‘The thing which you have said to do is good.’ So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and appointed them heads over you, leaders of thousands and of hundreds, of fifties and of tens, and officers for your tribes.
Kitty Werthmann remembers what happened in Austria during the time before and then after Hitler. You can easily see the parallel to incremental change noticed in America and beyond. Take heed…