This is a guest post by my wife, Virginia Taylor. Some thoughts to consider as we prepare to vote on Tuesday. A little background information may also prove helpful. Libertas (Liberty) was an ancient Roman goddess. In the history of the United States this idea of Liberty as a woman was continued, and even personified in the form of Columbia, a historical and poetic name for the United States of America. This historical iconography is found on many of our government buildings, as Lady Freedom on top of the U.S. Capitol, and the famous Statue of Liberty in New York. It is this history that forms the basis for the following post.
Godly Values or Goddess Virtues
Do American Christians and pagans worship at the same altar–Lady Liberty the “goddess of freedom”? Her traits of Hope, Justice, Piety, and Courage all seem admirable, even laudable. Independence, liberty, religious freedom–these are our rights; ideals engrained in our way of thinking! Godly values or goddess virtues, how do we tell the difference?
God’s Word says:
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1, ESV).
So as American Christians we are free; but free to do what? Are we free to become wealthy at the expense of others? Are we free to plunder the resources of the earth without regard for the consequences? What if our individual freedom causes oppression for another individual, is this freedom, or something else?
My musings stem from recent events in our nation and the church’s response.
People of faith are crying foul over a Mayor’s request of sermon transcripts in Houston, Texas. We are rightfully concerned because we see our religious freedoms being eroded daily. Many are troubled by issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and censorship of the pulpit. We are asking ourselves, “What’s next!”
What Should Our Response Be?
The answer I keep hearing, reverberating through the church, is VOTE! The idea seems to be that if we will ban together, and exercise our right to vote, we can turn the tide on godlessness in this nation! But, is this the answer God provides?
I may cast a vote to preserve my religious freedom, however voting doesn’t seem to be the best answer for issues that address the human heart. Not when I find myself in a world that is topsy turvy; a world calling right wrong and wrong right. A world in which people who do not share my values are standing up and fighting for justice and freedom.
Their Freedom or Mine? It is So Subjective!
Once, I thought I was a freedom fighter. I have made it my life’s mission to be on the side of justice. When did things get so complicated?
It’s time to turn off the noise! It’s time for reflection; time to go back to what is real, to what is solid, and what is true. It is time to ask myself, “What does God require?” Micah 6:8 tells us:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
To do justice, and to love kindness. To walk humbly with my God. Yes! This “Culture War” is bigger than I am, larger that all of us. It is not a war between Christians and the world, us against them, but a supernatural battle that has been fought throughout the ages.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV).
The politicians we oppose, the God-haters, the social activists are not the enemy. They are simply pawns in the battle of the ages! So, I am asking myself the question, “Am I going to allow myself to be a pawn in this battle?” Both the “sinners” and the “saints” in this war seem to be preoccupied with their freedom. They are spending their time and energy fighting one another at the altar of Lady Liberty. Both sides claim that they are fighting for their rights, for justice, and for peace.
How Did We Get Here?
Many in the church are fighting as pawns! They are fighting for righteousness, but standing on the wrong side, wearing the wrong armor, and fighting with the wrong weapons!
Christians, we are not called to be pawns to a political party, but to be warriors for the kingdom. Not warriors who fight a supernatural battle with the natural weapons of rhetoric and politics. Nor, Christians who vote for the “right” side (pun intended), for all the wrong reasons, but Christians who use the weapons God has provided.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4, ESV).
Once again, the question is WHAT is it that God requires of us. How are we to proceed as we address these cultural issues? I propose the answer has been evident, but largely ignored by the Church. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (ESV).
It’s true that we can’t just sit still and allow our “rights” to be taken from us. We must act! We must be the change! However, Church, our current methods are not working! I believe that the one thing we have yet to try, is our only HOPE for the United States, for the Church in America. If God’s people, His Church, will humble themselves (stop thinking we have the answer, and continuing to respond in our own way), and pray (repent, praise, thank, and petition), and seek my face (talk to God about what He thinks), and turn from their (let’s own this–OUR) wicked ways, then God will hear from heaven, and forgive our sin (that’s right–OUR sin, not the world’s sin), and heal (restore and make whole) our land (the United States of America).
That’s the answer! IF… then God will! It appears that “they” (the world) aren’t the problem after all. It’s the Church in America, it’s us!! If you want change, and you want freedom, then STOP worshipping at the altar of Lady Liberty! Humbly fall on your face before a holy God! Turn away from your sin, hear from heaven and join in God’s plan. Then, watch as He restores America!
So, I am quitting the culture wars. Not because I agree the way America is heading is right, but because the Church is fighting in the wrong arena of “Liberty and Justice for all!”
Instead, I will fight this battle on my knees, as I ask my God to:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24, ESV).
Church, if we will fall on our knees, we will one day say with David as we turn from our wicked ways:
Create a clean heart for me, O God,and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and with a willing spirit sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you (Psalm 51:10-13, ESV).
“ColumbiaStahrArtwork” by Paul Stahr – Herbert Hoover Library, National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ColumbiaStahrArtwork.jpg#mediaviewer/File:ColumbiaStahrArtwork.jpg
Columbia (name): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_(name)
Statue of Liberty 7 Public Domain: Uploaded by User: Elcobbola: