A Tale Of Two Cities

More years ago than I care to admit, my sister started off her valedictory speech with a quote from Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. She of course was using it to refer to the many experiences the class had in its four years of high school, and would now face in life going forward. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. — A Tale of Two Cities

While the title would lead you to think this was a novel about two cities, it was really about two different men. It is that twist that makes this selection of a title for my blog post apropos. In my own version of the twist, I’m going to be talking about two types of people. And the study will also be one of contrasts.

Remembering September 11, 2001

It is hard to believe that 11 years ago our nation came to a complete stop.  Well, not everyone.  A significant number of first responders sprang into action.  They went in as others were rushing out. Men and women in our Armed Forces did the same thing at the Pentagon.  And the heroes on Flight 93 took the first action in a conflict against a stealthy enemy.  Our world has not been the same since.  We watched our TVs in stunned disbelief.  We heard that the skies were being cleared of all civilian air traffic.  We witnessed military aircraft patrolling the skies over our homeland.  Many of us made the pilgrimage to Ground Zero to see for ourselves that the massive buildings were indeed no longer there.  And as a nation we turned to God.  Sadly, that didn’t even last a year.  Our own tax dollar supported PBS documentary asked the question just a year later, “Where was God?”  Where was God on that fateful day? How could God allow these events? Or, “Religion drove those buildings into the ground.”  Allow me to share my view.  Evil, wicked, God-defying people caused the carnage of that day.  And as for where God was?  How about limiting the loss of life on that day?  Just think, buildings that on a normal work day would contain upwards of 50,000 people, yet under 3,000 lost their life that day.  While we mourn the senseless loss of life, I choose to look at the miracle.  I choose to focus on those who bravely risked their own life trying to save others.  And I thank the brave men and women of our Armed Forces still putting it all on the line to give me the liberty to share my thoughts with you today. Don’t ever take this liberty for granted.

Holistic Hegemony Has Hope

Thank you for enduring my love of alliteration. It serves several purposes, not the least of which is it forces me to think about the meaning of words. We must go beyond the superficial or casual use of words, just as we must avoid the pompous display of knowledge. Why? Because the essence of communication transcends the casual and shreds the pompous. It is about ideas, dialog, and ultimately results. Consider the power of these words, oft quoted.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

What do I mean by “Holistic Hegemony Has Hope”? Allow me to expand on the alliteration. Holistic means the “comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” Hegemony, as I am using the word for my alliterative purposes refers to leadership, not dominance. “Has Hope” ought to be self explanatory.

In order for someone to fully understand me, you must understand that the parts of me are intimately interconnected. Lets start with the obvious. I’m a human male. I’m married. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a sinner, therefore I have flaws. Some flaws are obvious only to me, others only to my wife, and still others only to Jesus himself. I am politically active. I am conservative, notice I didn’t say Republican! I desire to make a difference, yet the difference I want to make, will likely not be popular in our culture. Many of you think I should stop being holistic. In other words, I should separate religion or church, and state.

I’m submitting to you that a big part of the reason we are in the place we find ourselves locally on up to nationally, is in large part because we make a separation between church and state. We have forgotten that liberty is achieved only under a moral and just leadership. Our Founding Fathers intentionally created a difficult document with checks and balances to minimize the negative impact of our flawed human desires, mine and yours.

How is that good? Well, if it is done properly, it means you can elect me to a position of leadership, even though I am flawed! It means that other people can also be elected when they are flawed. And when it is working correctly, those who are elected can be counted on to hold other elected officials accountable within the governing framework of our constitution.

But, what happens when we elect individuals who are not governed by a moral code that transcends human law? Or, who seek to eliminate God, and/or Divine Providence? Simply saying that God doesn’t exist, or that evolution over billions of years produced human life does not make it so. Much of the premise of our science in this country is based on a lie. Who are we kidding? We teach evolution as fact, and in the next breath ask God to bless the United States of America. Do we think God is deaf, blind, dumb or non-existent?

So it is, that I am through pretending to go along with this bunk that church and state should be separate. I am standing up on the principle that we govern with the consent of the governed, and under the authority of God, the Creator and sustain-er of life.

You don’t have to agree with me, but I am no longer going to pretend that these things do not matter. They are in fact more important than human life itself. Think what you will of me. It doesn’t matter so much. Consider how much God desires to have a relationship with you. He sent his Son to be born into a despised family, in a despised town, to a despised people, to a despised cross, to a criminal’s death, when Jesus alone was without sin, holy, righteous, and without fault. God raised him from the dead, and the sacrifice of Jesus on that cross is a demonstration of God’s love for mankind. Believe that Jesus paid the debt you could never pay, and you will understand that it is not about separation of church and state! It is about getting rid of the guilt of your sin. That’s what it really takes to be free.

Until then, you may live in a land that calls itself the “land of the free”, yet be in complete bondage. A slave to sin, a slave to death, a slave to the government. The promise of these United States is not the obvious freedom, it is the ultimate freedom. To be free of the bondage of sin, not by force of government, as if government could even do that… rather by government making the environment conducive to the process of being truly free.

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word.38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.[b]

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did.40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” – John 8:31-47

Holistic Hegemony Has Hope, then, is another way of saying we need to return to the principles of our founding as a nation.  We need to return to the notion that while all men are created equal, we are not guaranteed equality of outcomes.  We need to pick up the individual fight to retain the unalienable right to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”, from a government that has overstepped its constitutional bounds.