I am a man of very little consequence and, as far as I can tell, profoundly so. Consequently, in the end, it matters very little how I experience events or navigate life. I point this out because I don’t live with the assumption that anyone does or even should care what I think. If you think this is a display of false humility then you don’t know me. I share my thoughts because I have them, I cultivate them in the soil of a particular alien system, and, therefore, feel responsible to speak. If someone should listen or, even better, be provoked, inspired, encouraged or even steeled in their opposing position, then, for me, it is worth the effort to speak.
These things being said, I am affected by the events that take place in our nation. I am not disconnected or aloof. My Christianity includes a practical caring about what happens in America and not just for the sake of evangelism or the opportunity to persuade people to believe or to encourage those who do. But because, as John Donne wrote, “I am involved in mankind.”
I think Donne’s words are worth reading in context:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Our nation was diminished yesterday. It has been diminishing for a long time. But we mustn’t separate ourselves from the people of the nation. If our nation as a whole has diminished it is because people diminish. But, like it or not, those people are part of us.
In his book, A Secular Age, Philosopher Charles Taylor refers to “the King’s two bodies.” The idea is that, in a nation governed by a sovereign, there exists the actual body of the King himself—a physical, perishable body—and the conceptual office or “body” of the King that remains so long as the kingdom stands.
The United States is not only its collective self as a nation that exists on the world’s stage, but it is, at any given moment, also its people. We can lay claim to “our America” and exclude from our thinking all those who don’t meet our standards, but that is only ever a reference to the office of the King’s body and ignores the odorous reality of the actual body; the actual people who make up this nation in its totality. I cannot draw a picture of an America that does not consist, in part, of those who sanction and are working towards socialism. That would be a false representation. I don’t have to agree with or support that value system. But for now, in reality, the United States as a nation is made up, in part, of those who would have it become a socialist nation.
Perhaps if I held some other value system than the one I hold—a Judeo/Christian value system—I have to care about people and walk with them and reason with them for as long as Christ is willing to walk with them and reason with them. So I can never throw them away.
In Matthew 5:22, Jesus taught,
“I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
I believe the point here is to not allow ourselves to go so far as to judge that a person is worthless. People are worth what God says they are worth. I bristle I’m response to Christians who find it easy to call people evil or equate them with the devil, etc.
This brings me back to my original thoughts. I am affected by the events of January 6, 2021. All of the events: a President who openly questioned the courage of his Vice President, lawmakers on both sides who ignored the atrocities of our 2020 general election, the certifying of an administration that represents everything I stand against, people storming the Capitol in order to do harm and start a revolt. And today, I have to regroup and process what has happened and where we are as a nation. Not because my thoughts are any more consequential than someone else’s but because I am responsible for being a good steward of my thoughts and my actions. I am responsible for living with purpose among people and not isolated from them.
So, what practical things can I do today in order to effectively and responsibly respond to all of the events mentioned above and more, and to live intentionally as Jesus would have me live?
- Pray for our new President and his administration
- Pray for our nation
- Search our hearts for any bitterness or animosity that have attached themselves to our hearts towards souls that God loves
- Reconnect with God’s purpose for our lives
- Pray for President Trump and his family
- Pray for those who have hurt you or made you angry
Categories: How to Live