Friday, 3 December 2010

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

When God Settles Our Hash
Political Dualism - Mere Christendom
Written by Douglas Wilson   
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There are many reasons for my behavior on this theme of mere Christedom, but one of them is that the concept provides the only real antidote to American exceptionalism on the one hand and radical Islam on the other.

When it comes to American exceptionalism, a couple recent examples are here and here. We are constantly and regularly subjected to a false alternative. Either we must believe that America is the last best hope for mankind, or we must be muttering ingrates who don't recognize or appreciate any of the advantages of living here. As Digory would say, "Bless me, what do they teach them in these schools?"

America is emphatically not the last best hope of mankind. What perfect nonsense. Jesus is the savior. He is the last savior, He is the best savior; He is the blessed hope.

But America is emphatically not a dingy little tawdry place to live in either. It is a great nation, and has accomplished many great things -- as other great nations have done before us, and as yet others will after us. Israel is set before all of them as an example. We are not loved because we were mighty. We are mighty because we were loved (Dt. 7:7). Muddling that order up is a very dangerous thing to do (Dt. 8:10-19), and our conservatives are doing it.

At the same time, this is a wonderful place to live, still, but the rot has in fact set in, and there are already other places in the world where it would be better to live than in certain parts of our nation. Some our states are completely addled and deranged, and have labored energetically to become banana republics. The results of the most recent election show that New York and California richly deserve, good and hard, everything that's coming to them. What happened to Californian exceptionalism? Where did it go?

Now I am most grateful to God for the kindness He showed in placing me in this nation. But gratitude is not pride, and this is a nation of sinners, prone to do what sinners in this position have always done -- which is to interpret blessings as rewards, to see the milk and honey as "best in show" indicators. The reason this is a big deal is that the very quickest way to shut off God's favor, like you were turning the spigot hard to the right, is to start to take credit for gifts.

Christians have long spoken of the temptation to focus on the gifts, forgetting the Giver. As a nation, we are a stage beyond that. We have forgotten the Giver, and are bragging about the gifts. The fact that the leftists sneer at the gifts is their problem. They should confess their sins, as we should confess ours.

But this is the cul de sac that secularism has created for us. If we cannot publicly honor the God of all nations, and Jesus the Prince over all nations, then everything has to be measured "under the sun." In the first place, under the sun everything is vanity and shepherding wind, as someone tried to teach us once. In the second place, the nation who holds first place in the present moment, for there is no other moment, has to act as though that is the ultimate vindication. Which it is, until the next ultimate vindication of somebody else. And the next, and by the time we are three down the line, we have become one with Nineveh and Tyre.
If we don't repent of this foolishness, then God will settle our hash.

No comments: