The Haven of Hope

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“My unchangeableness is the rock of your rest. When all the world is like the troubled ocean round about you, here you may fix and settle; I am your resting-place.”

(Mal. 3.6; Psa 62.6-7; 92.15; Jer. l.6; 2 Chron. 14:11)
FROM JOSEPH ALLEINE’S  “SAINT’S POCKET BOOK”
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Welcome to the Kakistocracy!

Kakistocracy – (n) – government by the least qualified, most unprincipled citizens, most stupid members
Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad

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    The good news is Billary Inc. lost. The bad news is Trump Inc. won. As George Will has written the 2016 election turned out with a “loser who deserved to lose and a winner who did not deserve to win.” I guess it wasn’t so rigged as Donald thought.
Now we’re expected to let bygones be bygones, sing “Kum ba Yah,” have a group hug and jump in line & goose step with Boss Trump.

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Not so fast.
Losing the popular vote with 60,350,241 to 60,981,118 does not a mandate make.

I’m a 50+ year old White male, with 1 wife, 2 cats, 3 kids and 4 guns. Theologically, doctrinally, ecclessiastically I am “evangelical” (euanggelion – good news). But faced with 2 equally miserable choices, candidates who were both morally-challenged, ethically-challenged, and character-challenged, I voted for neither one. There’s little difference between going off a cliff at 35 MPH or 135 MPH except the speed of your own demise. I refused to support either party that has led us to this kakistocracy.

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Evangelical supporters say Donald has changed. I’m looking for proof. Genuine change is made up of genuine repentance, contrition and restitution, none of which have been evident in Donald’s behavior or statements since winning. Moral character used to matter to evangelicals – I guess that’s optional now if it’s an election year!
I’m still waiting for his tax returns. I’m waiting for him to apologize to John McCain & the Khan family. I’m waiting for him to ‘fess up about his assault of women.
Guess I’ll be waiting a long time.

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What would happen if voters for the defeated party acted like Republicans did when they lost to President Obama? Like John Boehner, offering his plans for the President’s agenda: “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.” Or the Trumpster himself who called the 2012 election a “total sham and a travesty…. We are not a democracy!” Or like countless bloggers since 2008 have suggested the president’s assassination by putting his face on targets, threatened divine punishment or prayed for his demise and death?
But that would be unseemly.

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The Donald has made some big promises. I doubt Trump will be the savior people expect him to be.If he doesn’t follow through those that voted for him may turn on him quickly and viciously.
Peter Hitchens wrote – “Maybe Mr. Trump will turn out to have been kidding us. Maybe he will surround himself with advisers of brilliance and subtlety, who will prove to have mastered the problems of reintroducing protection in a world governed by open borders and increasingly dominated by China. Maybe all that stuff about jailing his opponent was just talk. Maybe, despite all those years of, er, locker-room behavior Mr. Trump will turn out after all to be a Christian gentleman in office upholding the ancient virtues. I do hope so. But forgive me if I decline to be optimistic.”

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I wonder if Donald will survive 4 years without impeachment – it will be due either to his propensity for outrageous behavior, trying to run the executive office like “The Apprentice” instead of as the executive leader of a nation or worse – his thin-skin and low tolerance for critics and opposition point to darker authoritarian possibilities.
I hope I’m wrong . I will pray for our nation. I will pray he genuinely experiences converting grace that is abundant in the fruit of repentance.
I pray the damage from this fiasco will be minimal.

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Grabber in Chief?

“When a government is in its prime, the public good engages the attention of the whole; the strictest regard is paid to the qualifications of those who hold the offices of state; virtue prevails; everything is managed with justice, prudence, and frugality; the laws are founded on principles of equity rather than mere policy, and all the people are happy. But vice will increase with the riches and glory of an empire; and this generally tends to corrupt the Constitution and in time bring on its dissolution. This may be considered not only as the natural effect of vice, but a righteous judgment from Heaven, especially upon a nation which has been favored with the blessings of religion and liberty and is guilty of undervaluing them and eagerly going into the gratification of every lust.”

Samuel Langdon (1723-1797)

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To start – I have no rat in the “Billary Inc. vs. Trump Inc.” rat race – I consider neither major party’s presidential candidate fit for the highest office in the land. I am voting for a 3rd party candidate that aligns with my political and moral views. I am not persuaded that I am “throwing away” my vote – if the GOP had wanted to defeat “Billary Inc.” it could have nominated a plausible candidate of whom there were sufficient number to at least make a contest of it. But due to Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee & a majority of the delegate’s desperation and terror of Hillary, it has given into a hostile take-over of the party and is now held hostage by a psychopathic text-book narcissistic, sexual predator who has a scorched earth policy of relational skills. Now that Trump seems to have decimated his chances for even a close loss, he has resorted to theories about left wing-media conspiracies, threats of uprisings or simply whining. He has no one to blame but himself.

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Sadly, some Christian leaders on Trump’s “Evangelical Executive Advisory Council” have proven hotter & more wanton for power than Oholah and Oholibaha (Ezekiel 23) reversing their long cherished culture war morality, principles and values to excuse Trumps insults of war heroes & veterans, judges and citizens of different ethnicity, and minimize and dismiss his extended history of misogynistic words and actions against women with “yeahbuts” – the lame justification usually employed by 6 year olds (yeahbut -it’s not as bad as he-she-they did) or platitudes about forgiveness that demonstrate the cheapness of Trump’s so called conversion &  how willing they are to trivialize the Christian gospel.

Maybe as Russell Moore has pointed out, this is the last death rattle of the old-guard Religious Right establishment. I will skip the funeral. Maybe after the smoke & fog of the election has cleared, believers can get back to the work of being the church and making the land in which we live a better place than Trump Inc. or Billary Inc. portray it.

Adieu 2015

2015

The calendar reads January 1. The first day of a new year. 365 possibilities – of the uncharted, the unknown, await ahead. The cynic in me says what has been will always be, the endless repeat of yesterday, the merry go round of the past.

It is true, our days follow the same routine of sunset & sunrise and the necessary work of my life. But within the familiar framework of creation’s routine and the progression of ordinary time is where the moment of surprise awaits, of the unexpected breaking in of the divine plan, when an eternal perspective is glimpsed.

The chronic worrier in me says the next 365 days include unexpected twists and turns, enough “what ifs” to feed a whole army of anxieties. However, I look back at the 365 days of faithfulness of my heavenly Father and know that he will not change his ways, his nature or his promises that have been my help and support. I know he is sufficient for the 365 days to come.  And his ways are never boring.

As Time Goes by…

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“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. Eternal years lie in His heart. For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast; before the sons of the new creation time crouches and purrs and licks their hands. The foe of the old human race becomes the friend of the new, and the stars in their courses fight for the man God delights to honor. This we may learn from the divine infinitude.”
― A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

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The New York Daily News boldly proclaimed in regards to our current fears of terror and gun killings that “God isn’t fixing this.” It’s unclear as to what the Daily News expects of the deity, considering that most of the time in New York and elsewhere the invocation of divine persons is typically followed by “damn.”

Politicians want us to feel safe. Our society thinks it will be safe if there are more laws & more government surveillance and intrusion. Some even think the Bill of Rights is an obstacle to safety. The current Attorney General seems more concerned about curtailing free speech than prosecuting terrorists. The current regime seems ready to impose its will on any who disagree with its definitions of truth, morality or justice with the full power and sanction of the state. However, our society rejects the source of true law, the divine word, and delights in violating the divine order which brings life. It refuses the divine governance which brings peace – the kingdom of God.

Despite the official reassurances of its spokesman that all is well, that we are safe, these efforts apart from alignment with God’s design are doomed to fail. The stink of panic is in the air. It’s “last call” for this cultural Titanic. It’s been weighed in the balance of divine judgement and found wanting.

I agree – God isn’t fixing this – our way. What God has done through his son Jesus Christ is to “reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:20). It is not that God is unable or unwilling to fix things. To the extent that society and even the church continues to reject the gospel the situation will not remain the same but will get worse.  There is only one source of peace. It is not found in any of the current proposals offered to fix things. It is through the child born for us, the son given, who is the Prince of Peace. “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Defund the Ghouls

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Dr. Jen Gunter (OB/GYN ) in her defense of Planned Parenthood’s practice of abortion had this to say regarding the slice and dice procuring of the human child in the womb:

“These are not “baby parts.” Whether a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, the tissue specimen is called “products of conception.” In utero, i.e. during pregnancy, we use the term “embryo” from fertilization to ten weeks gestation and “fetus” from ten weeks to birth. The term baby is medically incorrect as it doesn’t apply until birth. Calling the tissue “baby parts” is a calculated attempt to anthropomorphize an embryo or fetus. It is a false image—a ten to twelve week fetus looks nothing like a term baby—and is medically incorrect…There is no reason a conversation about products of conception requires more or less reverence than one about a kidney or a biopsy specimen.”

Definitions, definitions, definitions. While this doctor and perhaps many in the abortion industry rely on such a dehumanizing, linguistic ideology, I find the equating of a body appendage or a biopsy specimen with a human being as ridiculous as well as grotesque. These so called “products of conception” are bearers of the image of God no matter what their level of development. This is only “anthropomorphizing” to a nihilist.

Sadly it is part of the dehumanization required to do the obscenely violent act that ends a human life in abortion and then selectively chops it apart for resale.  No matter what twisted medical terminology is used to justify the hideous industry of Planned Parenthood, it (and its promoters like Dr. Gunter) have more in common with the Josef Mengele school of medicine than the “health care” organization it claims to be.

Its time to defund this ghoulish enterprise.

Exsurge Domine!

Train-Wreck

So eventually it has come to this. Over the last 30 years I have watched the our cultural meltdown concerning human sexuality metastasize from Hugh Hefner and girly mags in brown paper wrappers to “don’t ask, don’t tell” to a rainbow illumined White House, from denominational task force arguments about Bible texts to the Federal redefinition of marriage by judicial decree. Many times I was told by church leaders and other pastors not to cause waves, counseled that it was not a pertinent issue but a dead end distraction, to ignore things and “do mission” instead. I rarely listened to that counsel and did my best to be faithful to the truth but did finally grow weary at congregations that did not want to wrestle with tough moral issues, didn’t want to rock the boat, or instead wanted to fight and fume over pipe organs and chorus music yet still expected God to increase their coffers and people fill their pews. It was the counsel of avoidance – if we just ignore this or pretend it doesn’t matter it will go away. It was the counsel of cowardice – and how has that strategy worked?  The churches and denominations, such as the Episcopal Church in which I was raised, that have capitulated to the culture tsunami of sexual confusion have shrunken and declined. Those more evangelical who have soft-pedaled or censored the truth of God’s wrath against immorality, sexual or otherwise & the requirements of holiness in the name of relevance and market share will now see how lasting the shaky one way bridge of cultural engagement they were trying to build will last.

But now the gloves are off and the make-nice façade of “dialogue” has been exposed as a stalling tactic for the end run it concealed. Pastors, churches, leaders and believers will have to make known where they stand since neutrality is no longer possible. The previous implicit social contract between the culture, the state and “churchianity” of “God & Country” that dates back to colonial days has been dangling by a thread for decades with the hope that “our guys” in office would get us back to the way it was. Forget it. Believers have known for a long time that they can no longer assume or hope that the culture or the state will support their values or beliefs. This will be good for the church. This will be good for God’s people. Now the Gospel, can be demonstrated and revealed not as 10 steps to self-improvement or life balance enhancement within the expectations of upper middle class prosperity but God’s liberating power to transform people created in God’s image from sin’s destructive and damning power. It is also an opportunity for God’s people to shine in our culture’s Stygian morass and to rebuild the shattered lives that will result from the inevitable pile-up that’s coming.

And it is coming. Beyond the dismay so many believers feel is the purpose of God in demonstrating his wrath in action – by removing his restraining grace and abandoning people (giving them up as Romans 1 puts it 3 times) to the warped desires of their hearts. However, there is a future court date set with a Judge of supreme authority (2 Timothy 4:1) who will weigh the nations in the balance – including those nation’s leaders, presidents and jurists.

As always…

  • It is necessary to pray for elected leaders
  • It is necessary to pray for pastors & spiritual leaders
  • It is necessary to pray for churches & ordinary believers who will have to make crucial decisions
  • It is necessary to pray that the Gospel will be boldly proclaimed.
  • It is time to call out to the Triune God to arise and employ us for his purpose so that we can see “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15