I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a woman I talk with once in while where I shop. She looked really dejected so I asked if she was ok. She said she was really worried about her adult son, because he was an ardent Trump supporter. I took her words as concern for her son that his world view has been shattered by the violence in DC. I commented that it was a shame that the peaceful transference of presidents had been shattered and it was shame that we could no longer have civil discourse when we disagree. I couldn’t have been more wrong on my assessment.
Her response was basically “That happened a long time ago” (the breaking off of civil discourse). She went on, “I am a Christian and we were at the Trump rally. The next administration is coming to take away our guns and religious freedom. We need our guns for the civil war to kill those coming after us.” Needless to say, I was stunned but listened without rebuke. She was also lamenting that half of the employees she works with were laid off. After she finished venting, she said I am sorry to give you such an earful but I need to be on my way. Never had such fear ever come into any of our previous conversations. What stunned me the most was not her concern for her religious freedom but the need to kill to protect it. A strange way to honor the Prince of Peace from someone who started out by identifying herself as a Christian.
I remember Y2k and all the hysteria surrounding it. The world was going to collapse because all the computer manufacturers had deficient micro chips that would cause the world economy and infrastructure to collapse. At first I responded by buying a generator several months in advance and a portable chemical toilet. (Having small kids at the time I thought the toilet was extremely prudent.) But then I began to do some thinking and calculating.
Most of the arguments for the generators were to keep houses warm and refrigerators running. I lived in the north and had propane for heat. It would be January and cold outside, so why was I worried about the refrigerator not working due to no electricity for two to three weeks as predicted? I was also informed that gas stations would also shut down due to the electronic gasoline pumps not working. In order to run the generator for that time I would need to store several 55 gallon drums of gasoline in my back yard to run it!!! A huge health hazard and fire risk. Even if I did store the fuel, how would I protect it from thieves? I took my generator back within the week and long before Y2k . . . but I did hold onto the portable toilet.
But most importantly, most of the hype came from fellow Christians who had no working knowledge of how computers actually functioned. At the time I also worked part time in a computer shop fixing and building computers. Sadly, it was mostly the pastors who hyped being prepared. They only knew someone who knew someone and their fears were highly exaggerated. Today, Y2K is hardly brought to mind. I had not thought of it in years until yesterday. I recognized the same look and panic that you could not talk anyone out of who was sure the world’s computer infrastructure was about to collapse.
Is our freedom to worship Jesus under assault? Yes, it has been since the day Jesus walked the earth and it still will be centuries from now should Jesus tarry. Christianity has survived despite wide spread efforts to purge it over the centuries. I am not saying that we do not live in a sin fallen world and it may be necessary to defend ourselves with force if need be. But most of the fear is being taught by pastors and churches telling their congregations to be prepared to kill in the name of Jesus. A dangerous slippery slope. They only know what they have heard from someone who knows someone. And like Y2K, there is no talking them out of their fear.
I honestly do not know what the future will bring as I make no claim on prophecy. Maybe our rights will be greatly eroded. We in America have fallen for the falsehood spread through well intended evangelists over the years that “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” The unspoken theology is that we are entitled to a life on earth with no tragic consequences. Jesus never promised a life without suffering, but promised to never leave us. We overlook the suffering that many other Christians experience across the globe and assume our political peace is the norm. We love to quote:
- Jeremiah 29:11 NASB – 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
But we fail to take it in the context it was written:
- Jeremiah 29:10-13 NASB – 10 “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 ‘You will seek Me and find [Me] when you search for Me with all your heart.
This was written when their government failed, their country was being invaded, their men killed, their women raped, and children separated and carried off to the invading country. Yet God reminded them of his promises and admonished them to seek after him. At this point I hardly think the answer is more guns but more of God. God did not seem to attribute their problems from the lack of political activism, but a lack of seeking God. Fearing the worst, even during the worst, does not seem to reflect the heart of God. And yet, that seems to be the norm in many churches in America today. I remember Y2K. This ain’t my first rodeo.
- 1 John 4:18-21 NASB – 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
And so no matter what the future holds, still love much my friends . . .