The Next Day, Going Forward

Today is September 12th, 9-12, and after the infamous day nine years ago, many looked to the following day, this day, symbolically as a call to action – 9-11 being the wake-up call. Initially of course it wasn’t seen as that, people dwelling on the carnage and the anger as well as seeking some answers. In looking for answers, people began to see the larger perspectives and realized that we’d been living fairly insulated lives with an adolescent kind of belief that we’re invincible, blithely apathetic and ignorant to what has been occurring in our nation, let alone in the wider world. A couple of years ago, a few people began tapping into these realizations and felt that the aftermath of 9-11 should not be only reaction, but more importantly, action. “Never again!” coupled with, “Return to founding principles and core values.”

In the immediate aftermath and months after Sept. 11th, churches across America saw their pews swell with people; from absentee members to new faces. People were looking for answers; there was anger, sorrow, fear and confusion in response to the massacre. It went beyond what can happen locally after a school shooting or some other “senseless” mass murder or accident because the attacks were clearly calculated to hit the nation as a whole on an emotional level, not just the people of NYC or Washington DC. Many people are either unaware of it or ignore it, but we all have a God-shaped hole in us, needing and waiting to be filled. Is it any wonder that thru history man has looked at the stars and the world, realizing there is something greater than him, that he needs something more than what he can provide on his own? The plethora of religions and materialistic idols we have erected show that we must inherently need something else relationally other than what we can provide to ourselves or one another. Only Christ can properly fill what some have termed, a God-shaped hole, because we were created to have a relationship with God, that is our primary purpose; to worship God.

Many thought that a revival or spiritual awakening was occurring as a result of 9-11, but time proved that theory wrong. The theory and the surge in church attendance however, touches on something; what this nation needs – God.

Recently a huge rally – they called it an event – was staged at the Lincoln Memorial, highlighting the importance of honor, commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., the United States and rebuilding it. While a laudable exercise, it’s still not the answer, nor is it a good beginning. Many in the media – and I concur – said it sounded and looked like a big-tent meeting revival, a mish-mash of various kinds of things, part religious, part Tea-Party, part this and that. But the point is missed by the promoters, the media and many who were in attendance. You cannot create a revival. A true revival is thoroughly in God’s hands. It is organic, not controlled. Furthermore, things have to be in the proper perspective. Yes, we are called to work, but the truth is that only God can restore this nation, and only thru a real revival will that occur. The perspective of the majority of the people who want to see this nation restored is skewed in my estimation, and if numerical, hierarchal order is any indication, the proof is no further than the list of principles adhered to by 9/12ers and further promoted at the 8/28 event.

1. America is good.
2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the final authority, not the government.

Sorry, but that’s the wrong order, and that to me speaks volumes. Granted, the 9-12 organization may try to bill itself as open for anyone and everyone, but the instant you put God on the list it is no longer necessarily, secularly applicable. You move into the realm of the religious. And if you believe in God, then you believe He must be paramount – otherwise you have an imperfect god, not worthy of respect, much less worship. Yet, the 9/12 organization places America at the top of the list. Is it merely an oversight, am I making much ado about nothing and thinking too deeply, or have I hit the nail on the head? I have said it before, and I state it again, we have a new religion and it’s called Americana. Barack Obama is an autolater, but others are preaching a new, ecumenical, pluralistic form of paganistic idolatry. We have our own “scriptures” – our founding documents, our own pantheon of saints – the founding fathers. And preachers and religious leaders of all stripes have stepped forward to state that they’ll gladly promote it in every venue, forum and pulpit where they have access.

This isn’t to say that talking about and promoting liberty, honesty, integrity, etc. are wrong. They’re good and necessary things. Neither am I stating that the liberal ideological view on spirituality or the state is better; far from it. In fact, I see some dangerous overlapping going on because the ideological pendulum is swinging wildly. When you go too far in one direction, you can easily end up at the far end of the opposite position without even realizing it. In some respects, it’s like mission creep; the initial intents eventually shift to something entirely different without most participants even realizing it. Similarly our nation has shifted over the centuries. To be sure, many have been keenly aware of the shift, some purposefully pushing, others recording and discovering it. For at least much of my life (over thirty years) I’ve been hearing and felt a figurative correlation of the United States of America to the Roman Empire. Many of us have been cognizant that our nation is a shell of its former self, collapsing and crumbling as we continue to stumble on, even growing in strength in some aspects, though in reality a shadow of our former selves.

I’m not going to say that I have all of the answers, but I will say where we must begin. God. At first glance you might say I’m in agreement with many, and on the surface that’s true. But as I’ve laid out here and previously on my blog, I hope that I’ve made the differences clear. God, family, country. Yes, let’s restore this nation, let’s strive for it at least and do what we can to work toward that goal; however, let us not do it blindly or like sheep. What I saw on 8/28 was a lot of sheep, and it was highlighted by interviews. Granted, the journalist may have cherry picked, but I bet that those individuals represented a large swathe of not only those in attendance, but those across America who share the same views or gut reaction. People are going with a feeling, they’re still looking for answers, and when someone says, “I have a plan!” our ears perk up… “Maybe he’s on to something!” That is precisely when our spiritual “spidey-sense” should be tingling, because that’s when false prophets arise, and that is when antichrists have come forth and will come.

I am cynical that much will come out of the efforts of the Tea Parties, the 9-12 organization and related efforts. Part of it is because I’ve always been a recalcitrant curmudgeon, a conforming non-conformist, a pessimistic optimist. If any one will listen to me, I preach two things, repentance and caution. Turn back to God, and be wise as serpents in all of your dealings, even when and especially when it looks appealing, acceptable and best. What I continue to hear from these organizations and people is a hodge-podge of ideas that boil down to politics, exerting pressure on elected officials and gaining political office. Perhaps the reality is that we don’t need a “grand plan” to “take America back”. The real plan should be first, getting on your knees. And then you witness. You preach Christ and Him crucified and our need for salvation.

The only way this nation is going to have true restoration is by the power of the Holy Spirit, thru real revival that cannot be created, fostered or jumpstarted. It starts with the individual getting on their knees and crying out to the Lord. 1 Chron. 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” We must put God, America and our lives in the proper perspective if we want to see this nation restored. Furthermore, we must be open to the possibility that our nation may not see the restoration it needs in our lifetime, that we may see instead destruction and dissolution of our nation. No nation in the history of the world has lasted indefinitely, and no nation has stayed at the top of the pile in the game. Nations come and go, but the Word of the Lord is true forever. 1 Pet. 1:24, 25 “For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.”

Too many people are frightened by the prospect of failure, of defeat. During the 2008 election, how many conservatives and Republicans boo-hooed those of us who felt maybe defeat would be a good thing? “You cannot have victory in defeat! How can you win in defeat?” were angry retorts. Yet look two years later at what is occurring to the two parties, in Congress and the White House. What’s best for this nation is putting God first and the principles that flow from Him. And if that means voting in such a way that a worse person could certainly win, perhaps that’s truly the better way in the long run.

Today, September 12th, 2010 happens to be the Lord’s Day. Let us rejoice and be glad, let us worship Him. Let us humbly bow and repent. Let us pray for revival in the land and our own salvation. Everything else is lagniappe.

To never let 9-11 occur again is impossible. Yes, we must learn from mistakes, apply them and move forward. Yes, harkening back to earlier days and ideas is good. Yes, seeking to properly restore this nation to something good for its citizens is laudable, but let us not rush in like fools. Yes, let us be like Hezekiah and rebuild or fortify walls and dig tunnels for water, but let us turn to the Lord first because He is our redeemer. Yes, let us be like Josiah, finding God’s Word and preaching it, but let us pray that such a revival is not a temporary or false one. And let us pray that we are not taken away into captivity, but if we are, God is still there. His Kingdom is not of this world.

Jer. 6:16 “This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”