Eternal Souls Living in a Temporary World
October 21, 2016
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
If you have ever explored the founding of the United States in any depth, you catch a glimpse into what exactly these brave, early American souls had long been seeking. More or less, the John Adams and Thomas Jeffersons amongst them thought to themselves, “The world has become a place torn apart by power-hungry rulers, rigid prescriptions, and indifference towards the realities of human depravity. But now, here in this new land, we have a good shot at actually getting things right.” One would be terribly remiss to skip a key part of this nation’s founding—that it has Christian principles in its foundation. I have found myself inspired and encouraged as I have read and learned of this facet of America’s heritage. However, I’ve also seen how an understanding of the virtue in our nation’s founding can deteriorate into wishful idealism or a misguided and naïve obsession with a non-existent utopia. All such idealism seems worlds away when I consider my experience as a Christian in modern day America. I find my day to day life littered with sighs and head shakes somewhat reminiscent of the game Jenga where participants remove piece after piece from a tower until simple physics reluctantly brings the structure to ultimate ruin. It seems like every time we flip on the television or our smartphones we are informed of yet another key component of our Christian heritage stripped from today’s workplace, classroom, and perhaps tomorrow’s church building. And the daily news coming in from the presidential race seems to only be accelerating us to a pile of shambles, or confirming that we’ve already reached that point. No, neither candidate has claimed my heart this round. And I know I’m not alone. I wonder if for many of us this is the first time we’re being forced to step out from the political party we have been able to support, and in some sense hide behind for as long as we can remember. In case you can’t tell, yes, I’m disappointed. I know, maybe I shouldn’t be so disappointed. Or maybe I should wonder why I am so devastatingly disappointed. Maybe I need to ask myself why I am so bothered by feeling as though my secular-political-alter-ego feels orphaned and lacking an identity. Therein is my biggest challenge in this modern, political age. The truth is, I am not a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian or any other label anyone can slap on me or I can slap on myself. At my core, I am simply an eternal soul with a temporary existence here on this earth—one that is, thanks to grace, guided by truth. When I understand that identity, not just for Sundays or my daily devotions, but when my mindset is completely immersed in that identity, my perspective changes and the clouds of demolition and disappointment are replaced with clarity and hope. I start to realize that the next Supreme Court ruling, which may burst yet another hole in our nation’s sinking ship of Christian principles, is but one page in a far greater story. The candidate that so disappointed us finally took our faith to its knees and not just to a voting booth. And the politically outspoken acquaintance of ours on Facebook became another soul worthy of our kindness, not our retaliatory responses. There is also another point to be made here. In past generations, Christian folk got along just fine as the “do-gooders” of their respective communities—baking pies for the neighbors or inviting the homeless stranger to their pretty white church on Sunday. Back then, we were able to hide behind that reputation, and no one thought ill of us. However, that reputation is gone. If you are known to be a Christian in this generation, you are most likely labeled homophobic, chauvinistic, self-righteous, narrow-minded, completely stuck in the past, and maybe even “deplorable.” We are silly to wonder why today’s America has not thrown its arms around a presidential nominee who is a shining beacon of the Christian faith. No, in the eyes of our culture, we have no respectable, keep-to-ourselves reputation to uphold, and if you’re like me, you barely have a political party to hide behind either. But perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not advocating political surrender or disengagement. When times of disappointment and fatigue set in, the last thing we are called to do is give up. Engage in conversations and even heated discussions over the issues of the day. Support the state and local campaigns of those who uphold your Christ-centered values. And even when it comes to the presidential race, vote your conscience. However, do all of these things as a Christian, not a “Republican,” “Democrat,” or another title. This is the time where Christians are able to embrace their true identity distinct from any political party or warm and fuzzy reputation of the past. I certainly do not have all the practical answers, but intentionality and honesty may be a good place to start. Today’s political age may find you brimming with anger, wiping your discouraged brow, or feeling politically-unaffiliated. But remember, we know the end of the story. So instead of spending time dwelling on the distasteful and worrying about the temporal, this is a chance to know our identity as Christians before any other title. As I challenge myself, I challenge anyone reading to not give up this chance.
Nathan Chanski is 22 years old and a recent graduate of Grove City College where he received his Bachelors of Science in Marketing. He is currently located in the Washington DC Metro Area and is interning with the political team at IMGE, a full-service digital agency in Alexandria, VA. Lately, he has been blessed to find a church where he can worship in Alexandria called Del Ray Baptist Church. His passion is all things creative, his dream in life is to inspire others through his creativity, and if you can’t find him behind the lens of a camera he is probably spending quality time with family or friends. ]]>
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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