One of the features of the woke spasm we are in the middle of is that saying things that were unexceptional a week or two ago might land you in a national firestorm tomorrow. Shoot, you might find yourself pilloried because you quoted, and with apparent approval, a phrase from one of Obama’s campaign speeches. You know, from one of those times when he said that he believed that marriage was a union between one man and one woman. It is hard to believe that we have traveled so far and so fast in such a short period of time, but you also have to remember that because this is a free fall, the progressive agenda is being fulfilled at 9.8 meters per second squared. That can go pretty fast.
When the fecal matter finally hits the electric cooling device, the one with the rotating blades, two of the things that will not maintain their composure during such a time will be our old friends status and quo. Everything under our feet will shift, and everyone will have to decide what they are going to do now. And when I say “now,” I mean right that minute.
In the previous installment, in Part 1, I asked, under the form of a dark parable or metaphor, whether a person would go to Connecticut or to Texas, and what they would say when they got there. I will show my hand here. I would go to Texas, and then I would say (rather, I would preach) that being “in Texas” is nowhere close to a solution. Another name for red state salvation is damnation.
Any place on earth that is inhabited by fallen and sinful human beings is a place that is susceptible to the temptations of soft totalitarianism, a place vulnerable to the blandishments of this totalitolerance we have going on. And Texas, along with any other place still dominated by normals, is going to have to learn how to find its refuge in ultimate transcendent realities. Otherwise, the same dreary thing is going to keep happening over and over again. Slowing the revolution down is utterly insufficient.
But that means acknowledging that Christ is on the throne of David, which means in turn a farewell to secularism. To reprise Francis Schaeffer once again, if there is no God above the state, then the state is god. And that condition is not our secular salvation, but rather our disease.
Normal Can’t Defend Itself
I heard just this last week that apple pie is now racist, and I suppose it kind of figures. Why not? Everything else is. I suppose that this means our red-checked tablecloth is now suspect, not to mention the Winchester over the fireplace.
If normal life, the kind that was running on cruise control just a few years ago, could defend itself against this kind of thing, then why hasn’t it? An unchallenged assertion that apple pie is racist means that our hemophiliac nation is at some point going to die of these paper cuts.
Change the illustration. A body with a healthy immune system can fight off infections. A body with AIDS cannot fight off infections, and as a consequence that body could easily die of something pretty silly. Not only that, but we appear to have no shortage of silly tings to choose from. “What finally did the great republic in?” “Well, they got confused about roosters and hens, and pretty soon there was a great chicken meat shortage, and without chicken sandwiches, they found they could not go on.”
Orchards and Fruit
I said in the previous installment (again, Part 1) that the radicals hate both the fruit and the tree, while the normals love the fruit and hate the tree. The revolutionaries are at least consistent, wanting to build out their brave new world to their very own demented specifications, which apparently involves dancing around dry altars and cutting themselves with knives.
But it is a fact of our created order that a certain kind of fruit will only grow on a certain kind of tree, and if you chop down that tree, you are going to have to deal with the consequences of your own actions. Chainsaw the orchard, and the following autumn your little fruit stand by the highway will see a significant drop in revenue. And then, when you call in a consultant from the big city to examine your business model, he will say something like “your problem is that you chainsawed your orchard, and you don’t have any more apples.” Then he will hand you his bill.
“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Our materialist paradise here is a great city populated with ingrates who have a slim grasp of covenantal cause and effect. These ingrates, our normals, are in the process of losing some things that they never once thanked anyone for. They don’t like it, and as they fight for these things, they find they have to fight for them on their own. And that is why it seems increasingly impossible. How can you successfully fight to keep something when the God who gave it to you is not helping you retain any of it?
But as things grow increasingly bizarre, it is easy to react with expressions of simple distaste to that grease-painted eunuch in a dress, as though an ick recoil is going to be sufficient. How could that be sufficient? This is because we do not realize that there is more than one kind of fruit, and more than one kind of tree. There is the God’s blessing/we are blessed fruit tree, and then there is ingratitude/great perversions tree.
Here are the two trees, side by side:
God blesses a people > God’s people rejoice before Him
God’s people drift into ingratitude > decadence takes over
The first tree is that of honoring God as God, and rendering thanks to Him, and He pours out Deuteronomic blessings. But those Deuteronomic blessings continue for long enough for sinners to consider them their bounden birthright, and so they adopt the posture of entitlement and ingratitude. And if one phrase describes our generation, it would be entitlement and ingratitude.
They refuse to honor Him as God, and refuse also to give Him thanks ((Rom. 1: 21) ). What happens then? As they have chosen the wrath of God, that wrath is visited upon them from Heaven, taking the form of God giving them up. Giving them up to what? Well, among other things, giving them up to pride month, pride parades, and, as it turns out, the pride that comes before the fall.
“When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage”
Deuteronomy 8:10–14 (KJV)
If we continue on this, our suicidal path, and we all die in this grease fire of ingratitude, the passage above is the one that needs to be carved on our tombstone as a caution to others. The only problem is that when a people are swollen with ingratitude and pride, they rarely visit the graveyards in order to read the older tombstones.
And so here is the root issue. The flamboyant stuff we see, the embarrassing consequences, the high levels of stupid—that is the rancid fruit we are currently selling at our re-imagined fruit stand by the highway. But who is tending the orchard that produces all this fruit? The workers in the orchard are the armies of normals, tending the trees of our complacent ingratitude.
So the trees of ingratitude are incapable of growing anything but perversion. That is what they grow. That is the kind of tree that grows this particular crop.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened . . . Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves . . . For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet . . . God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
Romans 1:21–32 (KJV)
But enough about your news feed.
Our root sin is not anything other than a profound ingratitude. Normals somehow want God to continue to bless America while refusing to acknowledge any responsibility to have America bless God. Ungrateful and increasingly worried normals want to live in the world that God gave them, while being very careful to avoid naming the one who was so generous to them. I used the phrase profound ingratitude. Name one nation in the modern world that God has been kinder to than the United States of America. And yet, that nation considers it a constitutional and very secular duty to avoid saying thank you to Him.
Very well then. Have it your way. “God gave them up . . .”
Mark It Well
Look back over the cited passage from Romans 1. The degradation of public life that we see all around us, and which is accelerating in remarkable ways, is not to be understood simply as the grotesque sin that will bring down God’s judgment on all the participants of the pride parades. I say this even though those parades are a sin in their own right, and God will judge them in the appropriate time and place. These perverse events will incur their own judgment, of course, but what we have to recognize is that these perverse events are a judgment in themselves.
The point to be made is that all this perversion and decadence is God’s judgment on the secular normals, who would not honor Him as God, and who would not give Him thanks (Rom. 1:21). What is the wrath of God in Romans 1? The wrath of God is God saying to man, “Very well, then. Have it your way.”
“God gave them up” (v. 24). “God gave them up” (v. 26). “God gave them over” (v. 28). “The judgment of God” (v. 32).
A “Come to Jesus Moment” That is Actually About Coming to Jesus
I referred a little earlier to a shortage of physical food. Our real shortage, of course, is a shortage of the Word of God preached—a famine of the Word.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, That I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
Amos 8:11–12 (KJV)
We are not going to address the problem we have by “rewinding” and starting the movie over. If you back up to an earlier spot in the movie and try again, you are going to get the same movie.
This is why repentance is a necessity, and repentance is more than simple distaste for what is going on right now. Repentance sees where everything went of the rails, and cries out to God for forgiveness over that.
What do you do when the uncircumcised Philistines are in the gates? What do you do when you find yourself oppressed by unbelievers who are right near the top of their scaling ladders? What you do—and this is the only thing you can do—is cry out to the Lord.
“And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.”
1 Samuel 7:8 (KJV)
So cry out to the Lord. Ask Him to intervene and deliver us, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. But when you call upon Him, and ask Him for deliverance, you will have to use His name. Let me conclude with a little appropriation from the other side.
Say His name.