It’s mid-January. The snow falling outside may not be leaving particularly deep mounds of white on the ground, but the air is swirling ferociously with the conflict of storm fronts colliding and wind streams circling around one another in perfect ambush. Dancing, falling, whipped-around snowflakes both drift and plummet downward as unseen forces manipulate and twist their normal course.
It is a nasty day outside.
And in my estimation, it rather closely mirrors the political climate in our country, right now.
So much so, I am strongly feeling that leaning into focused prayer should be an immediate response regarding a growing intolerance towards publicly living and celebrating a faith-based life. I am inspired anew by the admonition in I Tim 2:1, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and dignity.” (NASB, italics added)
I believe that the “we” in this scripture is both a personal “we” – you and I – as well as a collective “we” for those who had come to know Christ in that era. In our present case, here in America, a collective “we” – as in, “We, the people.”
While flipping through emails, I read the heading, “They Will Come for the Churches Next” and immediately clicked in to a politically foreboding article authored by Matt Walsh. It was a follow-up piece to a day-before article regarding the startling amount of publicity being given to Second Lady Karen Pence’s return to a former employer as a current part-time employee.
When I first heard that announcement, I had two reactions of surprise: first, I didn’t realize that the position of “Second Lady” would allow Pence to take on a “normal job” simultaneously, primarily for security reasons. Secondly, I assumed she already had a full schedule of doing those goodwill-gesture and support activities necessary to whatever-it-is Second Ladies choose to highlight. I found her choice a little puzzling, but thought it was rather down-to-earth and remarkable of her to engage in private-citizen employment while maintaining a public-citizen role.
Then followed a variety of Pence-focused announcements released on different days by different media sources, all of which easily summarize as pretty much one single statement — “Vice President’s Wife Takes Job at Anti-Gay Private School.”
And the descriptive twisting of facts almost made the truth of the issue unrecognizable.
Yes, Karen Pence was returning to work in a school she had already worked for, in former years. Yes, it was a private school, the very school from which her daughter had graduated years earlier.
However, it is not an “anti-gay school.” It is a pro-Christian-morality school. And because we who identify as Christ-ians are constantly being described as “anti” rather than “pro” when represented by those who are not-Christ-ians, I believe we have fallen into a self-injuring trap: we define ourselves in the same way, as being “anti” rather than “pro.” We are therefore re-active to their agenda and narrative, rather than pro-active to His.
And therein lies the problem. Here’s an example:
Pro-life…that would mean anti-abortion, I can hear the conversation shift. No, “pro-life” is pro-life…pro-unborn, pro-just born, pro-toddler-through-adult, pro-geriatric, pro-working-years and pro-retirement-years, pro-adoption into both natural families and Jesus’ spiritual family. Pro-you-moving-forward-positively in wherever you fit in any of those scenarios. Pro you-discovering-the-purpose-and-giftings-of-your-life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, NASB, italics added) The Common English Bible translates Jesus’ phrase as, “I came so that they might have life—indeed so that they could live life to the fullest.”
Yes, pro-life – verbally and actively supporting those principles, laws, philosophies and theologies that allow for abundant life, “life to the fullest.”
Our thinking and discourse are significantly limited, tainted, and shrouded by the restrictions of working within an “anti” mindset. It turns a reality of “us, together” into a perspective of division, you-and-me-on-opposite-sides. Thus, we end up speaking from a defensive or holier-than-thou posture when talking to others. Yet in a pro- stance, we are better able to stand firm as representatives of Jesus’ Kingdom, gladly extending His open invitation for all to believe in Him and step into the Light to join Him there. We are encouraged by Jude 1:22-23, “Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them…” (The Living Bible)
It is now the start of February. In the last two-plus weeks, much publicity has revolved around four Covington High School Catholic teenagers wearing MAGA hats to the Right to Life March and the various encounters that occurred. Judicial nominee Brian Buescher was verbally grilled regarding his charitable volunteering through the Knights of Columbus and how his political views may be impacted by serving in a faith-based organization. New York State has signed into law legislation that allows for “legal” abortion to be performed right up to the minute of a baby’s birth, and other states are pursuing similar laws. On January 1 of his year, Hawaii became the eighth state/province in America to allow assisted suicide for the elderly.
None of these – nor the dozens of issues that will erupt over the next year – are no-opinion issues about which we should be prayer-less, complacent or silent in expressing a pro-life opinion, not an anti-this-or-that opinion. Jude 1:3 encourages us, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all handed down to the saints.” (NASB)
Once for all. Our pro-humanity, pro-generational Abba contends for us, singing and speaking Truth into every circumstance. Let us do the same regarding the issues that impact our freedoms, our witness, the soul of our country