2013 Inauguration: the shape of things to come #Obama #inauguration

January 21, 2013

Today, Evangelical America was figuratively transported across Tokyo harbor to the decks of the USS Missouri. Taking on the role of General MacArthur, President Barack Obama announced the consequences of our defeat. The bitter pill was all wrapped in the most pleasant language of love and equality. Apparently, those of differing opinions will still be allowed to reside with the USA.

Talk about chickens coming home to roost. All the hateful name calling, shallow biblical interpretations, threats, arrogance, and misplaced superiority have been delivered back to sender with shipping charges due. The Christian failure to love and understand is being repaid. America believes that religions, and especially the Christian variety, is part of the problem of intolerance and division. The culture wars are at an end and we are in a situation similar to ancient Judah after having been overrun by Babylonians.

If you think this little commentary is a longing for a return to Christian America, forget it. The United States is not a Christian nation, was not founded as a Christian nation (although religious dissidents flourish here), and is more connected to the increased possession of personal wealth than sincerely professing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Americans believe in Christianity, so long as it does not cost them anything.

The minority position of faithful followers of Christ is confirmed and Mr. Blanco’s elegant poem lays out the material features of a nation stripped of all former trappings of rightfully understood spiritual awareness. His America is an ugly world of self-reliance, self-fulfillment, and general selfishness. The good part, for orthodox Christians, is that the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring a much needed light to this dreary land. Yes, this will demand learning how to live out the gospel, and that is a challenge in the best circumstances.

It will be a healthy and maturing experience for Christians to learn how it feels to be relegated to the status of second-class citizens. This is no time for fixing blame. We are called on to spread the gospel throughout the world, even to political enemies. It may be that God has decided that, since evangelicals have failed to convert their fellow citizens, he will force the issue. In victory or defeat, Christians are witnesses to the power of the resurrection, and might just do a better job having suffered defeat.

Here are a few quick notes on Daniel, who endured deportation to the enemy’s royal court. He was smart, so he had influence. Knowing the Christian religion will be important now that we must explain and defend it. Daniel was compelled to learn the customs and laws of his captors. What does that tell you? Daniel learned about people who were very different from his own kin.

Daniel respected the strange culture, but he never signed on to its core beliefs. The king set out the rich food served at his table, but Daniel chose for himself a more modest and smaller portion. There is a distinction between God’s way and the world’s way. Daniel showed care to highlight the distinction, and he trusted God to see him through the test. Daniel refused the king’s food and wine, but he served in the government with his whole heart.

Even as conquered people, Daniel and his friends from Judah were effective witnesses to the unique power and position of the creator God. As followers of Jesus, believers have advantages in the power of the Holy Spirit and the Savior’s promise to always be present with his people. This is so much more reliable than political entanglements. The new order of things demands that the lives of Christian people be examples of patience and real love within a fallen world. Actually,that has always been the priority – even before the ill-conceived, divisive, and costly culture wars.

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