Friday, December 20, 2013

And another thing . . . .

I don’t know if you noticed, but the internet blew up yesterday. I am still cleaning black and grey beard trimmings ofF my keyboard, and wiping camouflage from my screen. The controversy over statements made by Phil Robertson, the now-suspended star of “Duck Dynasty,” has fueled internet traffic like few other things I've seen in recent times. I added a very small part to this with my post, “Outrage is Not a Fruit of the Spirit,” which has turned out to be the most popular post in the history of my little blog. But as I've thought about this situation, there are a couple of more things I’d like to add to that.
Let me start by reiterating what I said yesterday. If you are fired up about this issue, you have every right to be. I won’t stop you or even try to stop you. Instead of stop signs, I've tried to put up a couple of yellow lights, cautions to help you think before you speak on this issue. So this is what I’m doing again today. And it goes for not just this particular story, but whatever issue has hackles up of American Christendom tomorrow. Issues like this demand that we look at principals, not particulars. And there are some principals that I think have been missing from this discussion.
One of the things I think I have noticed, not just with Duck Dynasty, but with many, many “Christian” culture war issues over the last several years is this; there is a tendency to treat these issues as if the future of the world is dependent on them. The idea seems to be that if Christians don’t “win” on these issues, then we’re going to lose our country. So let me be clear here; if the United States is your country, there is no doubt you’re going to lose it. This kingdom is passing away, like every other kingdom in the history of the world. It won’t last. We Christians believe that we belong to a kingdom that doesn't have actual borders at this moment, but one day will. We believe that Jesus is going to return to THIS earth, and fix every problem and set up HIS kingdom here, and it will last forever. So if you’re trying to hold on to any kingdom that is currently here on earth, you need to understand that it WILL. NOT. LAST.
Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian, the promise you have is a BILLION years as a perfect person in perfect relationship with other perfect people in this perfect kingdom ruled by a perfect God. And when those billion years are over, you will have another billion years. And another. And another. And another. Forever. You will get happier every day. It will never get old. You will never get tired of it. Every single problem that you currently have in your life, or currently see in our society, will pass away. Everything else that happens in the world must be seen through this lens, because no matter what happens in this world, you have the promise of a perfect world to come.
            Now, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to affect change in our current world; that we shouldn't work for justice and making our society better now. It simply means we do it with the end in mind. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow. We can turn our outrage-o-meters down a few notches and trust. God wins. Everything will be set right. There is no injustice that will not be set straight. There is no problem that will not be fixed. There is no sin that will not be judged. And there is no kingdom that will not be brought down. We can count on this truth. We can live by it. And I'm pretty sure Phil Robertson would agree with me on that.

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