Sunday, September 7, 2014

...The Continuation of the Folly According to Franklin

There are many contenders for the title of the most outrageous example of Presidential confusion of Scriptural Higher Things, with mundane nationalistic aims.

Once could cite  as the classic example,  Mr. Lincoln's  devout resolution that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Now I don't think Honest Abe was necessarily referring to the supremacy of the Lutheran Voters' Assembly; although the Saxons had already landed in a Border State, two or so decades before that November1863 sermon-on-an-envelope was delivered.  However, the Railsplitter's desire certainly does seem diametrically opposed to the consequences of the Second Coming, with this event's preferred worship of a slain Lamb rather than the management skills of a John Doe.

Not to mention all that strange talk found in Revelation, about a new heaven and earth.  

Mr. Reagan, of more recent memory, once loftily spoke of a "city set on a hill" (cf. Mt 5:14); but the Great Communicator exegeted the community's skyline to be more along the lines of Uncle Sam's star-spangled top-hat, than a blood splattered cross of Christ and His Church.

I know, I know, Mr. President:   "Now, there you go again."


Just so the Democrats don't get too fat and comfortable with the examples fingered and busted so far, I wish to suggest that the worst instance of Executive Branch Excess is FDR's solemn assurance that "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  It's a warm bromide fashioned to make us take heart and to feel better about our shovel-ready competencies, much like the pablum of contemporary worship; but the mandate squarely and foolishly contradicts our Master's own urgings to "Fear Him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt 10:28).

Lacking a fear of the Christ-Who-IS-Present is not a good thing given this reality of omnipotence, which is precisely why Fr. Luther lovingly intones ... again and again ... that "we should fear and love God" in his catechism.  The order of words is not happen-stance or a monkish neurosis.  Lacking fear towards God will inevitably lead to one's destruction (which is one reason why "open-communion"  is a horrendous behavior to encourage, however "loving" it is touted to be by the blinded synapses of man), and eventually guide the emboldened to open-blasphemy and the abomination of desolations. 

So did Mr. Representative-man Adam fear God, immediately after the fall?  The act of diving into the bushes at God's call might suggest so, at first blush; but this stunt is also a favored combat tactic by those hostile folks desiring to ambush, overwhelm and crush a target.  Did you notice?  Adam never admits to revering and being afraid of God, in Genesis 3, with his lips anyway.  Rather, he screeches that he hid, even while his loving Creator imploringly sought him out,  because of his nakedeness (v. 10).  In other words, Adam had come to recognize, in a delirious and head-spinning rush, some marked physical dependencies now, sure, but also a ruined and shattered image once grounded firmly in God.  Then there was that embarrassingly multitudinous (and deadly) assortment of imperfections of soul and spirit.   Poor boy!  These facts gave him discomfort.  He took a huge narcissistic hit.  Now it was obvious.  He could not stand up to God as an equal, much less His superior ... no matter how much he and the wife had lusted for such status.   Now he knew evil, all right, and indeed was bound to wallow and sport in such morass like the foulest Gadarene pig, the bedraggled slave of Devil and Death.  He was condemned to the worship of his flimsy ego, and indulge his hedonic emotions with such ferocity, in fact, that Adam could fearlessly sass back at God, and blame and hate Him as the ultimate cause for the disaster and his pain.   Adam was convinced he knew better than God, mere seconds after the fall, you see.  He much preferred to trust and adore his pathetic self, his ease, his precious moments and his lattes;  rather than to fear and love God.
You look at fallen Adam's behavior and his snappy retort aimed at God, and you finally understand that the naked-he-man was simply unable to apprehend "the grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear (Heb 12:28)."

But what's our excuse?

The baptized and regenerated Lutheran, according to the Confessions which we claim to espouse now and then, has the graced choice and ability to serve God through means which the writer to the Hebrews says is acceptable.  This acceptability is couched in a worship which displays reverence and fear of God ... and not the steamy perspiration of the radical children of the Reformation, given and shed to lull us into the Xanadu of good feelings which prop up the Self through soothing eye-and-ear candy and "purpose-driven" meanderings.

Ironically, the resort to such gray-matter concoctions by Lutherans is almost certainly driven by fear. The fear might be one of a coming reduced distinction in the world's eyes, if not eventual extinction; of declining numbers and flesh locally, or of thread-bare synodical coffers, more generally.  These concerns are strongly similar to the fear of a penurious revenue flow and curtailed national plenitude, a fear which once inspired an eloquent  President's fire-side heresy.

To counter this heresy, one could do worse than to echo the thief dying at the crucified Christ's right hand.  You know what his response would be, to the casually pop-and-blended heretics of today.  Of course you do.  To recap: the righteous thief rebuked the reviler-on-the-left's brainy scheme for the thieves' salvation (along the likes of, "Mr. Christ, take down that cross ... or at least, remove such offense from the church's roof!")  in this arrestingly blunt manner:  "Does not thou fear God (Lk 23:40; AV)? "

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