I realized this week how much time I’m giving to thinking about the current political reporting and debates and tweets and punditry, including making time to write my own analysis of the Trump and Hilary part of the show. Politics interests me and I have strong opinions (a family characteristic passed down from my Granddad Kiser on my mom’s side) so I feel the need to join in and add something valuable to the discussion. My medium of choice for adding commentary was Facebook, but a few weeks ago I deleted my account. The back and forth of post – comment – reply – counter-comment, etc doesn’t work for me. Facebook posts are too short and not formal enough to be conducive to presenting well thought out ideas, and comments, replies and counter-comments for the most part are reactive and lacking thought, and well, not nice. I am decidedly impatient with anything I consider to be ignorant and I write things with an edge intended to inflame and/or cut rather than instruct or persuade. Switching to Twitter as a medium of adding to the commentary hasn’t been much help. Although the limited format forces me to think hard about what I want to say it’s pretty hard to stay away from snarky, cutting words in my Tweets and replies to Tweets. Since my native language from birth is Sarcasm (everyone in my family is fluent) I feel right at home jumping into a thread of “burned you” and “I burned you back.” The trouble with this is that my heart doesn’t end up feeling great after I fire off ten or so pithy, snarky Tweets. I find myself delighting in the amount of favorites and retweets with a well shaped shot in someones twitter feed. And that delight decays into a selfish dark slushy bitter taste in my heart until I jump into the next snarky stream. So I’ve decided to move the Twitter feed into better places. To add light to the feed with godly comments and commentary and proverbs. I think this is my part. But I also feel I should contribute to the political discourse of my time. This seems to me to be in the tradition of the gospel and clergymen. Worldviews have consequences and Christians, especially Christian leaders must not disengage from the line where the gospel intersects politics, public policy, and the culture. I feel like Eric Liddell in Chariots of fire:
I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.
I believe God made me thoughtful. When I think and analyze and write, I feel His pleasure. I also remember the words of C.S. Lewis at the beginning of Mere Christianity where he explained why he choose to write on the subject of basic Christian apologetics rather than wade into doctrinal debates:
That part of the line where I thought I could serve best was also the part that seemed to be thinnest. And to it I naturally went.
As I look upon the state of punditry it seems to me the left and the right the liberal and the conservative positions are thoroughly covered. It also seems many Christians are creating content and publishing opinions from their perspectives; some more overtly Christian than others; some like Bono and some like Casting Crowns; Christians who make commentary and Christians who make Christian commentary. But the line seems thin where I most naturally feel at home and that is the news story of the day and how it relates to the news story of our race in light of the most significant event in human history; the gospel, the Good News. I am a Gospel commentator on my times and culture. Trump is popular. How does that relate to the gospel? Hillary is accused of lying about email. What would we do with/for her if we believed the gospel? This is where I am at home and my heart is at rest. This seeks to bring light to the eyes of my race and glory to a name that deserves it. I sat down to write the book I am working on right now but ended up writing this. It is something I need to publish so I’ve put it in the light and open to examination by others. I need this kind of accountability and transparency. This is also why I am choosing to write here on my site under my own name where I must take responsibility for my words and I have as much room as I need to think and to express. I am a man of God and I work for Jesus. I seek to write in a way that pleases him and helps others to know and to love him. I believe in Jesus. This is why I write.
One of my best friends died 5 months after I was born. He has made me laugh, entertained me for hours upon hours with his stories, and opened my eyes to mysteries in ways that are marvelous to me. Every time I think of him I am thankful that he shared his thoughts with me, and none more than these thoughts that inspire me and fill me with hope:
“And this brings me to the other sense of glory—glory as brightness, splendour, luminosity. We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star. I think I begin to see what it means. In one way, of course, God has given us the Morning Star already: you can go and enjoy the gift on many fine mornings if you get up early enough. What more, you may ask, do we want? Ah, but we want so much more—something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that “beauty born of murmuring sound” will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet. For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world,
the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects.” – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
But you can’t be numb for love
The only pain is to feel nothing at all
– Bono, A Man and a Woman
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
When a person receives an organ transplant, they must also go onto a regimen of drugs to keep their body from rejecting the new organ. The exact thing they need in order to have new and full life is attacked by their body. It is viewed as an invader. It is seen as a destroyer. We need the gospel but we see it this way. This is the tin soldier CS Lewis talks about in Mere Christianity:
Did you ever think, when you were a child, what fun it would be if your toys could come to life? Well suppose you could really have brought them to life. Imagine turning a tin soldier into a real little man. It would involve turning the tin into flesh. And suppose the tin soldier did not like it. He is not interested in flesh; all he sees is that the tin is being spoilt. He thinks you are killing him. He will do everything he can to prevent you. He will not be made into a man if he can help it. What you have done about that tin soldier I do not know. But what God did about us was this: The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself… And because the whole difficulty for us is that the natural life has to be, in a sense, “killed,” He chose an earthly career which involved the killing of His human desires at every turn – poverty, misunderstanding from His own family, betrayal by one of His intimate friends, being jeered at and manhandled by the police, and execution by torture. And then, after being thus killed – killed every day in a sense – the human creature in Him, because it was united to the divine Son, came to life again. The Man in Christ rose again: not only the God. That is the whole point, for the first time we saw a real man. One tin soldier – real tin, just like the rest – had come fully and splendidly alive.