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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Tide That's Rising

How do I sense the tide that's rising, de-sensitizing me from living in the light of eternity?
How do I sense the tide that's rising? It's hypnotizing me from living in the light of eternity?

The "Lose my Soul" song by TobyMac, although not my favorite style of music, seems to capture exactly what I think when I observe the world around me lately. Inspired by Matthew 16:25, which says, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?" (ESV), the song describes a danger that Christians need to guard against, perhaps especially in our current days. 

When my clock-radio switched on this morning, I heard the dee-jay (my alarm clock sadly doesn't tune in our Christian radio station) talking about the week and he said, "If you saw Obama's press conference Monday night, I'm sure you thought that was amazing."

I didn't see it, but from what I read it was amazing. But I'm not amazed by Obama in the same way the dee-jay is. What kind of tide is rising in America right now? Journalists fail to follow-up on questions or press the President for straight answers, but instead laud him for his brilliance. Then, the next day, in a town-hall meeting, people flat-out begged our President for help, one woman even pleading, "Help me," after describing her woes. To which the President of the United States responded in Oprah-like fashion: "OK, Ms. Hughes, well, we’re going to do everything we can to help you, but there are a lot of people like you. And we’re going to do everything we can, all right? But the — I’ll have my staff talk to you after this — after the town hall, all right?"

The whole thing reveals just how much Americans have begun to see their government as their provider. Instead of seeing that a strong central government should provide a just and reliable framework for society to function within, so we can pursue our lives and provide for our own needs, people now want government to provide for all their needs

I also see the rise of emotionalism over reason. In that same town hall meeting, so many of the questioners were carried away by emotion and asking for help from the President with the fallacy argumentum ad misericordiam (appeal to pity).  So it was interesting to read this passage from the classic The Pursuit of Holiness (by Jerry Bridges, NavPress, 2006 edition):

These faculties [the mind, the emotions, the conscience, and the will] were all implanted in man's soul by God, but were all corrupted through man's fall in the Garden of Eden. Our reason (or understanding) was darkened (Ephesians 4:18), our desires were entangled (Ephesians 2:3), and our wills perverted (John 5:40). With new birth our reason is again enlightened, our effections and desires redirected, and our wills subdued. But though this is true, it is not true all at once. In actual experience it is a growing process. We are told to renew our minds (Romans 12:2), to set our affections on things above (Colossians 3:1), and to submit our wills to God (James 4:7). (p. 108)
And on the next page,
Therefore we must guard what enters our minds and what influences our emotions...The Bible speaks to us primarily through our reason, and this is why it is so vitally important for our minds to be constantly brought under its influence. There is absolutely no shortcut to holiness that bypasses or gives little priority to a consistent intake of the Bible. (p. 109)
In light of that, it is a bit comical that atheists accuse the Christian faith of abandoning reason. But, on the other hand, they cannot abide by a faith system that presupposes an inability to understand the things of God by non-followers and in that essentially invalidates their every protestation.

Forgive my somewhat random collection of thoughts. But watch out for the rising tide!

UPDATE 3/6/09: The TobyMac video was removed from YouTube so I removed the embedded video.


MagistraCarminum said...

Good post, Amy. I sense that tide as well, and I am trying to keep focused on what God wants me to do as the water level rises, despite my incredulity and temptation to despair!.

Jennifer said...

I totally agree!! Great post :)

Sharon said...

It will be interesting to see what happens in a year or so. In Australia, our current prime minister was elected amid a chorus of "we need change" similar to the election of Obama. Yet now Rudd is facing the economic downturn just as his media "honeymoon" period wanes, whereas Obama is facing his challenges while his honeymoon with the media (and subsequently, the general populace, is still at its height.

Already here in Australia I am seeing commentators say that Rudd can't seem to take an important stand when it is unpopular, nor can he come up with his own ideas, rather he seems to be a bit of a will o' the wisp politician, flitting from idea to idea with no clear direction. For those with their eyes open, this was forseeable from his pre-electoral approach of saying "we're fiscally just the same as (the conservatives) but we're also socially (liberal)". Now the population here is beginning to see that they can't really have their cake and eat it as well, contrary to Rudd's promises.

Fortunately for Australians, the previous (conservative) government left our economy in a very secure position, comparative to the US, although of course there are some flow on effects. It just remains to be seen how much damage can be done in one term when the economic factors are set against success.

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

That's interesting about Rudd. Your description of him as "will o' the wisp" reminded me of something I've begun to think about Obama: he isn't passing the "If" test.

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;"

Kipling's poem sets a very high standard for manhood, but our current events seem to be teaching us the hard way that character counts. I find it particularly annoying to see Pres. Obama complaining about the dismal state of affairs that he "inherited" from the previous administration, as if that isn't what he used to his advantage in gaining election! Not only that, it is self-deception for much of the complaints he's heaping on the "previous administration" came straight out of the Congress which has been run by Obama's own party for two years.

Alas, manhood is out of fashion, right along with Kipling.

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