Monday, June 18, 2007

So What Was Frances Schaeffer Trying To Prove?

How does a good fundamentalist balance Christian activism with pre-millenialist theology?
How do you put your heart in your warning against abortion, homosexual activism, and radical Islam when you believe these things are signs of the times?
Put another way, how hypocritical do you feel when you affect grimness over a tumultuous Middle East and the apocalyptic rantings of Iran's president, against a rising bubble of excitement in your gut?
I often feel pitied admiration for the likes of James Dobson, cheering him on, muttering under my breath, "Man, you're beating your head against a brick wall."
I harbor no optimism for the salvation of my country, much less the world.
It's not simply a matter of eschatology. I know that James Dobson knows that the world will not continue to get better and better until it's good enough for God to live in. He's fighting the good fight, don't misunderstand me, but what end does he see?
It could be that I'm simply not compassionate enough to muster the energy to place behind the hope that drives a dedicated Christian activist.
It could be the cynicism of youth, (I'm a Generation X-er, after all. "Hope, where is hope? Don't be a dope, hope is gone.")
There is a passage in a novel that has influenced me, perhaps more than it should.
It is a burst of exasperation from a weary, burned out pastor responding to the blazing, fresh-faced optimism of a young pastor, determined to take the town for Christ.
"Have you even asked this town if it wants to be taken for Christ? . . .I guarantee you, Kyle, I know some people around here who do not wish to be taken for Christ. . .No one . . .has ever. . .taken a city for Christ. Not Paul, not Peter, nobody. Not even Christ took a town for Christ."
Taking a town for Christ, or fervent prayers for a revival to be poured out on this city are owing in part to a certain score-keeping mentality that is inseparable from humanity.
There is something of a war cry in the prayer, "God, take this town for Christ!"
I think most of us would be more suited for battling against principalities and powers if it were a physical matter.
I remember reading the Darkness books by Peretti at a fairly young age and then bolting outside with a broom handle to mow down demons like weeds.
They were, in fact, weeds, and they did fall before my broom handle like Destroyer's hordes fell under Tal's sword.
I'm not equating my immaturity with the zeal of evangelism, but I can't help but be reminded of it when I listen to the words of a worship song, "You know I feel there's somethin bout to break now. You know I feel there's a city here to take now. . .We've got this leather backed book and a freedom cry and we're an army of God who are ready to die."
What army?
Maybe I'm blind but I see a few scattered, exhausted soldiers just standing up under the weight of their armour and a whole bunch more who have shed everything but their sword and are running around hacking on trees for the glory of God.

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society." -D. James Kennedy

Head in the clouds or head in the sand, what's the difference?
I recently looked at a website called Theocracy Watch.
They are the brave souls warning America about the drumbeat of doom. These people are literally terrified of the rise of the Christian right and their impending "theocracy."
I want to laugh so hard that I reach that stage when it's hard to tell laughing from crying.
Yeah, sure. Lock up the kids. Bar the windows. We're coming to get you.
We're gonna haul you in to a church and force communion down your throat, and make you recite the Ten Commandments, the Four Spiritual Laws, and Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses.
Beyond the absurdity of worrying about a Christian conspiracy is the sad fact that if we wished to conspire, we'd be hard put to gather ten of us around a bonfire to come up with a secret password.

More later.

I fully intend to reconcile my view with optimism.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to your question - "how hypocritical do you feel when you affect grimness over a tumultuous Middle East and the apocalyptic rantings of Iran's president, against a rising bubble of excitement in your gut?"