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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Entry 18: The Unravelers

June 10, 2014

Dear Friends

Re:  Entry 18

The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord lasts forever.  This is from Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 8.  I intentionally misquoted it once, by adding one word but not changing its meaning to emphasize a point.  Someone told me that the United States would last forever.  I added the word “only”, before “the word of the Lord” and emphasized it by saying at the end “nothing else on this earth lasts forever".  As sad as it may seem to all of us, the United States will not last forever.  Some people have gone to great lengths to prove that their particular countries or homelands are to somehow be glorified or honored by the Lord by preservation (remember the “JerUSAlem crowd?).  There is nothing new to this thought that successful countries, in the world’s definition, will last forever, or that somehow those countries possess an honored, if hidden or obscured, place in the word.  If you doubt, Google the term “British Israelism” and ask yourself how anyone ever believed (or believes) that was supported by the New Testament, let alone the Old.

But back to America.  It takes a considerable amount of hubris to think that America, the United States, will last forever.  The current incarnation of the United States barely survived a civil war not 150 years ago, where one whole side used the word of the Lord to justify enslaving their fellow man.  I hate to break it to you if you are not a student of history, some of you may hang on some vague concept of “states’ rights” as the basis of the American Civil War, but there was no state right apparently worth fighting for greater than the loss of what the South considered its most valuable asset—human slaves.  I have often considered the Civil War to be one of the greatest acts of righteousness of the United States—it took that to wipe out one of its greatest acts of unrighteousness, slavery.

We may be at the end of history, watching the unraveling of America as we knew it, eaten from the inside out by selfishness, and commercialism, and pleasure-seeking—the pursuit of happiness now defined as personal preference to do whatever one may want--and that financed by the taxpayer.  The country that roused itself from the Great Depression to win the Second World War, having done so by self-suppression to a higher cause, probably could not do that today.  I watched a documentary about a 17 year old from Clarksburg in the 29th Infantry Division, who went ashore at Normandy and fought his way through France, saw terrible things, did terrible things.  17 years old.  Today he would be in therapy because he did not get a Little League trophy when he was 8.  in 1944 he helped save the world from tyranny.

Where are these men today? I can tell you most assuredly, I am not one of them.  I am one of the unravelers of America.  It is a truth all Christians must face, that American Christianity is only spread when Christians are in the majority, or at least that is how we all seem to talk lately. If only we elected this man, or that woman, or finally got the majority back.  Well, you have got to believe that our government was elected by a majority—and you might be content to point to a president as the culprit—I would be more inclined to point to the majority that elected him.  Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon and Paul (in case you are counting, I left out Judas and Matthias, added Paul), all of these men took the Gospel to the majority—in their day they were the minority, and they did it to the point of death, it being so important to fulfill the commandment that they did not wait until Rome decided to stamp “official” or “majority” on them.  The next time you hear someone lament the end of prayer in schools as the beginning of the end of America, ask them why God is so limited by the lack of a schoolboy’s prayer.  He most certainly is not, and like all excuses for lack of action—action being the obligation to spread the Gospel—it has the hollow ring of unbelief and disobedience.  Get up, get out, spread the word! Stop whining about how it is all unraveling.  God is the God of the whirlwind too.

We may be watching, experiencing, living—assisting!—the end of America.  It may not survive my lifetime, the end most likely will be financial, a slow, strangling collapse, if we continue at this pace with this government which disdains, disowns, disregards the values that made it so special.  The grass and the flowers and the earth with America will pass, but the Word?  Not so.  Not so.

I remain

Fessler