All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:6-8 (ESV)
When I was in grade school, my mother fixed up the couch for me on a sick day, and we sat and spoke of things we most wanted to do. I was thrilled to hear her say that she had long dreamed of parachuting from a plane, but then immediately saddened when she acknowledged that it would be impossible at her age. Though I assured her that she would–I was wrong–that was my first exposure to the inescapable reality that the number of possibilities of accomplishment tends to decrease rapidly as one ages. Not only do the walls of time encroach unabated, but the particular permutation of one’s successive choices necessarily restricts the remaining choices; and though the available choices may theoretically lead to more possibilities, they usually do not.
One choice which led to many possibilities for me was that to begin commenting at RedState. As my online persona developed, my choices of occasion, content and style somehow kept me just on the inside edge of the bannable line while occasionally–more often not–drawing one or two others into discussion, and sometimes a–coterie, shall we say?–into accelerated oxidation. But of course the site had to grow as well, and the warm fuzzies of discussion, being deemed too ineffectual for the harsh climate, gave way to the promotion of activism as a sole raison d’etre. While a perfectly fine and pragmatically rational deeming, it had the curious effect, in my case, of reducing my remaining contributory possibilities to nearly zero.
Here’s what’s left:
To everyone: you all taught me a great deal about politics.
To many: I really enjoyed the bulk of your writing.
To some: I appreciate the bulk of our interchanges.
To too many: the vain uses of God’s name, the vitriol, the slander, the demonization, the self-righteousness, the open calls for violation of scriptural commands, the innuendo and the vulgarity, produced in me, shall we say, a growing hesistance to direct others to the site.
To the urbists: Don’t be afraid; come on in and visit a blue place. You might be pleasantly surprised.
To the evangelical Christians: Keep it objective–you don’t have the luxury of speculating publicly about theological matters not authoritatively revealed and universally accepted; you have the Scriptures and the Creeds and the Confessions–learn to either say “according to” rather than “I think/feel”, or to not say it at all. Keep it local–while preserving the country, make sure the young women (and men) in your neighborhood are able to hear about the imago Dei, that your unsaved union-goon neighbor is able to hear the gospel from you, and that your catechize your own children even if it doesn’t give you as much time to plot the demolition of the Dept. of Ed. Keep your position–honor and pray for your leaders, all of them. Keep your tongue–“With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people–who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,these things ought not to be so.” Keep your perspective–far worse things have happened to God’s people throughout history, and the guaranteed blessing is not for those who bring things back to normal but for those who persevere to the end.
To everyone who neither knows it nor believes it: You simply will not be able to stand on the final day clothed in whatever shredded leaves of righteousness you applaud yourself for having stiched together by your merit. Only the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to your wretched account will suffice on that day. The astonishing news is that the Lamb of God still saves all who come to him in repentance and faith before his imminent return.
And with that, the tank is on E. Happy … acting!