The internal conflict we presently face as a nation has clearly moved beyond politics. The battle we find ourselves in now is one of extreme ideology; of personal philosophy and dogma. The outrage, anger and even hatred which is daily becoming exposed across our nation is simply the visible fruit nourished by deep roots planted in ethics, belief systems and values. Speaking as one who has given most of my adult life to Christian ministry I believe the problems we now face have moved beyond what is natural.
Jesus, when speaking of demonic forces said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”. (Mark 3) He was expressing the fact that if a “strong mans” house is divided, his house can’t stand, but He infers the opposite is also true. If any kingdom or house is divided it can’t stand. We, the United States of America, are presently a kingdom divided and within our nation even our homes are becoming divided. America is in trouble and in desperate need of a leadership which doesn’t daily propagate dissension but is committed and even driven to strive for unification. Where are the leaders?
Echoing the words of Paul, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12), I am becoming convinced the conflict we face is beyond political, but now spiritual. As a Christian whose faith was born out of the Jesus Movement of the 1970’s I can’t help but remember the things I was taught concerning eschatology. Eschatology, the theology concerning the final events of human history, was a driving force of our faith in those days. In Matthew 24, among other places in the gospels, Jesus describes a type of global unraveling which will usher in the last days. He refers to them as birth pangs. It’s here that he says, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains”. Jesus warns against becoming deceived, saying that many false prophets and antichrists will rise up bringing dissention among people. I’m not inferring that we are presently experiencing these birth pangs, but for those of us who say we believe the words of Jesus it’s surly something to think about. Jesus didn’t give us these warning so we would build walls and isolate ourselves going into a state of self protection, but rather so we his people would engage full on in the crisis. Here’s an example.
Those who are alert to current global events are fully aware of the many famines plaguing our world due to war or the changing climate. Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Northern Kenya are well known examples not to forget ethnic cleansing in Miramar and the refugee calamity of Syria. Unfortunately, this list continues to intensify and grow. Consider Cape Town, South Africa where a major world city of four million people is running out of water. As I write this, it is projected that within ninety days the cities reservoirs will be dry. South Africa like other regions of the world has undergone several years of unprecedented drought due to the changing climate. It is no wonder the world is undergoing major human migration which is demanding immigration. In the hour we live, these demands and the problems they create will not diminish but require aggressive Christ-like responses both long term and short term.
The long term solutions will require major reformation concerning such issues as worldwide environmental stewardship. These things will require global cooperation rather than short term fear driven reactions motivating nationalism and isolationism. The world has become far too small “to go it alone” in the 21st century. Even oceans and man constructed walls cannot protect us any longer. In the short term, we must, like Christ, die to humanistic self-preservation and prejudices and rather lovingly embrace the Samaritans of our day. As a sincere Christian myself, I fully believe God will honor and preserve our nation if we choose to respond to the world crisis with Christ-like actions and a Christ-like heart. Mercy, compassion and justice are our hope and our path to preservation.
In saying this, I want to confess that I personally understand the fear and discomfort so many feel. Years ago our family moved to Idaho because we loved open spaces and desired to live in a place of greater wholesomeness. Presently Idaho is the fastest growing state in America and the increase of migration is being felt here. Our culture is rapidly changing from a rural, hunting, fishing and rugged recreational environment to an increase in big business, urban sprawl and traffic. I find myself caught in an inner conflict not liking the changes. Even within our own nation many have recently been forced to migrate from weather related disaster; floods, fires, hurricanes and mud slides. Many have been displaced and are forced to leave their homes seeking safer places. In addition to this, Boise the capital of Idaho has become a city of refuge. It is now the home of many foreign immigrants as it has embraced displaced people from all over the world. While Idaho was once known for its population of White Supremacists it is now a place of hospitality for the foreign immigrant. As an Idahoan, and a more so as a Christian, I like so many others, have been challenged with a decision. Will we push away hurting people in our broken world or will we take Jesus’ last days commission to love and embrace them? I assure you, Idaho is a much better place since it has opened its arms to the rich diversity of the world.
If we as a nation will humbly die to ourselves and aggressively recapture the reputation we are presently loosing as a people of global compassion and kindness – a people who do only what is just, then we may again become a powerful “kingdom and house united”. This is God’s mandate and the only thing that will ever make America great again.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you