Thursday, January 12, 2017

Taking A Longer View

I should know better.  I do know better. But that knowledge does not always stop what seems at the very moment I am doing something to be somewhat ill-conceived.  And what I was doing at the moment in question was taking a contrary view, in public, to an article being shared on Facebook.

My perspective drew the attention and response of another person, who disagreed fairly strongly with what I had said.  I responded to those comments, which drew some more voices into the fray.  Given that the article sparking the whole episode was shared by someone else, and who was choosing to absent himself from any subsequent discussion, I figured that it was time to keep my mouth shut.  I had said my piece, twice, and that was enough.

The initial article had to do with a news story concerning the recent US presidential election, and in specific it had to do with allegations of Russian involvement in hacking the election.  I had the nerve to say that the matter of the election being hacked was a non-issue.  Be it true or not, in the greater scheme of things it is of little or no significance.  I added that the two choices before our country as presidential candidates were, from the perspective of their respective characters, among the worst choices we could have had, and so therefore it made little difference which person won. 

Somewhere along the line I was told by my conversation partner that I "had my head in the sand" and that there was no merit to either of my points, i.e. the non-issue of Russian hacking and the relative equal lack of character in both of the presidential candidates. 

To which I would say, were I still in the original conversation, it isn’t that my head is in the sand, it's that I'm reading from a different book.

No adult alive today needs to be reminded that people today are being bombarded with information.  From every side, at nearly every moment, things are coming at us, many carrying the labels "URGENT!"  "ESSENTIAL!"  "YOU MUST TAKE A STAND ON THIS!"

Well, no.  I don't.

Take the issue of Russian hacking the US election, for example.  I could get all worked up over it and whatever the implications might be.  But what really is the issue?  The United States has been around since 1776, or 241 years.  Modern Russia has existed in one form or another since Peter the Great, roughly 1690, or 327 years.  While they are both powerful countries and both have long histories neither one of them will last forever.  And it isn’t a matter of who goes first and who remains.  One day they will each pass away.

I don’t draw that conclusion as a student of either politics or history, but as a student of the Bible.  There seems to be no limit to the storylines filling our news/newsfeed and the ways in which they could unfold.  But they do so in conformity to the over-arching storyline of God, revealed in the Bible. 

We can, and should, work for justice.  We can, and should, work for good, even in the face of great evil  But we shouldn't fall into the belief that justice will always prevail over injustice, or that good will always prevail over evil. 

The words and imagery of the Revelation of John can be confusing and difficult to interpret but I think they make two things clear.  First, is that as history moves towards its culmination, things will get worse.  Christians and non-Christians will experience hardship that will be difficult to comprehend.  And second, is that the King is coming.  This is the longer view.  It is the point to be continually mindful as we interpret and respond to the news of our day. 

So listen to the news.  Look at the needs of your family and your community, and respond as God leads you.  But do so mindful of a different book, one with a longer view than the next 24 hours.  For one day this is what will be seen:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God."


Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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