Please don’t take cover
The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius
In this time we are now living, war is coming—indeed is now here. Like it or not, either we will be a fighter, or a casualty, because neutrality is not possible. For believers, it never was. This will be alarming for some of us to think about, but somebody has to say it. Someone is.
The war is upon us, and we should come to terms about what we will do—what we ought to do. Compromise is simply not an option, and it should never be so. I have come to believe, if for no other reason than this: sheltering in place is not a strategy.
I’m not the only one who thinks so either. Jon Harris of “Conversations That Matter” released this podcast, “War is Upon Us,” March 31, 2023.
I have a lot of respect for Harris. He is the author of two very important books of our present time: Social Justice Goes To Church: The New Left in Modern American Evangelicalism, (October 6, 2020) and Christianity and Social Justice: Religions in Conflict. (September 22, 2021) Both books are a response to our modern-day conflict between the liberal church and leftist ideology, and biblical Christianity.
In this episode, Harris reacts to the latest news riveting the nation. This one involves a female mass shooter—very unusual in itself—but a woman who openly identified as a man. It only gets worse. Her target was the very Christian school she once attended. And the last point? The shooting takes place just days before a scheduled “Trans Day of Vengeance” in Washington, DC. It doesn’t take long before every political spokesperson, media pundit, and social media site is ablaze with the story. Many dither on about it. Most have nothing helpful to say about the motive because much is not certain—but there is a factor that no one can honestly avoid: the shooter was mentally ill.
Once upon a time when we used words like deranged or disturbed. It’s really a shame we can’t now without getting shot.
Such words are now forbidden. We are told they promote violence. If you see the irony in that, take heart, because it means you’re not the one deranged.
For Harris, the most disturbing aspect of this news story comes from the lips of White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Shortly after the story broke, she makes this very disturbing comment—almost off-handedly—about the focus of concern that she evidently believes all Americans should share.
She says, “[Our] hearts go out to those in the trans Community, as they are under attack right now.” He had to play it twice to make certain he was hearing her correctly. Yes, she really did.
Is it possible that The White House—a metonymy for our Washington DC government—actually believes the parents of the three children who were murdered should be concerned for the trans community right now? For the families, friends, and community of the school children and employees who were murdered, their hearts would obviously go out the victims, not the “trans community.” But above all, it’s ridiculous to believe anyone thinks the trans community is under attack. We might hope and pray that Jean-Pierre was simply careless with her sentiment, but I believe what she said was very intentional. You see, the purpose of this kind of rhetoric is to draw the battle lines.
Marcus Aurelius (pictured) was the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome—Nerva (reigned 96–98 AD), Trajan (98–117 AD), Hadrian (117–138 AD), Antoninus Pius (138–161 AD), and Marcus Aurelius (161–180 AD) His reign marked the end of a period of internal tranquility and good government. After his death the empire quickly descended into civil war. He, more than the others, symbolized the Golden Age of the Roman Empire for many generations in the West. The following quote is remarkable in itself, more so as it comes from a Roman emperor:
“Honor that which is greatest in the world—that on whose business all things are employed and by whom they are governed. And honor what is greatest in yourself: the part that shares its nature with that power. All things—in you as well—are employed about its business, and your life is governed by it.”
There is much to be said of its remarkable compatibility with Christian thought and character. Aurelius was beleaguered by attempted civil war, invasions at his northern and eastern borders, plots to murder him, and endless intrigue. Yet, he, being a stoic as he was, preferred logic, and so, studied Plato and Socrates who taught him philosophy. Christians have this going for us: we know The Creator, whose business we are to be doing, who’s examples we are to follow. He’s the one who told His disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NIV)
Hold on, you may be saying, how is this any kind of advice for people who are in a war? The key is found in the first sentence, “I am sending you out.” Consider… He won’t send out any who are not prepared for the confrontation we will encounter, any more than a drill sergeant would send his squad into the battle without training and conditioning. If we understand scripture at all, we know what is taught in Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV. We are to put on the full armor of God. For what purpose? The battle.
We should pay careful attention to what we must do: we must stand our ground. And after doing everything, stand firm. These instructions are heavy with metaphor because there is no need for actual combat. Because, without fear, we must speak the truth to power. When was the last time you wrote your congressman, called your senator, or prayed with your pastor about the issues that deserve attention?
We must speak up in our school board meetings, at dinner with friends, [yes, within our family] and those we work with. We must speak to our service providers, where we shop… essentially anywhere we interact with other people. If you are really “shrewd” with your words, go on Facebook. Just be careful.
If we can, we must try and remember there is a link between fear and anger. So many are angry now because all they are hearing day and night is making them feel that way. When the people rage, it’s because they are filled with fear. They choose anger, unconsciously, to control their fear and anxiety.
You may be certain of one thing, and I pray all of us clearly understand this. This war is being brought to all Christians and conservatives—by the leftists/Marxists. These people hate Christians and their insanity is directed at us. We really have no choice but to face it, engage, and stand firm. The aim of the enemy should be obvious by now: while everything else is being overwhelmed, the last impediment left standing is The Church. All the enemy can do is to hope that in the fog of this war, we have forgotten it: The war for them is already over, and we have been declared more than conquerors.
- Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. (Romans 8:37 Amplified Bible)
Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash