I’m innately optimistic. I’m naturally joyful and not prone to melancholy. Yet, for our time, pessimism weighs upon me.
I truly believe MLK Jr. was right when he said that the arc of history bends slowly, but it bends toward justice. We will see freedoms increase. We will see more justice and more opportunity, and less imposition by state and political forces. The various other PTBs that people worry about will diminish over the generations. That is a long time for us mere mortals.
I see the signs for a cycle, as oft repeated in history, of evil times before more good times.
I hope I’m wrong. I doubt that I am.
Regardless, those of us who claim faith, especially those of us who follow Jesus, we must remain faithful.
Who among us will bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue? No one? What about the POTUS or SCOTUS? What about Apple or Facebook? What about Hollywood or regular old peer pressure?
What about the biblical mammon?
I happened to watch Pale Rider again. That mammon thing, it just won’t work.
Every person has to stand for what is right.
Every person must walk in love, and love in this sense has nothing to do with sex.
The story goes that the three Hebrew children refused to bow.
“…But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.d 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
The book of Daniel tells us they received a miracle. Miracles are by definition exceptional, rare.
Are we ready to stand anyway?
Are we ready to stand with Job and say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.“?
I truly doubt that we or our near descendents will every face most of the persecutions of history, but we see today the executions, the beheadings. It isn’t just Christians being killed, and we must never forget.
The saying is “going to hell in a handbasket.”
Recent SCOTUS decisions have made the world a harder place to live for all. Persecutions of churches and ministers will increase. Activism is not sated. The activisms of our era are like the grave, never saying enough. Accomplishing goals is no longer an objective, but destroying all who may oppose or disagree. That is where harm lies, and only blood and suffering will reset. (Again, I hope I’m wrong.)
More worrying to me is the state of science. Science in its several forms are no longer seen as a set of tools, but as ends. The tendency is Scientism, and that is one sad and gruesome religion.
The saddest of all, though, is the apparent willingness of the Pope, the leader of so many faithful believers, to step back to earth-reverence and sacrifice.
Cardinal George’s words may yet prove prophetic:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!