“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” —Romans 12:18

I was just watching an interview of a man who is a Christian and an actor and producer in Hollywood. His interviewer was a Christian woman. The topic was about the negative impact on society of much of what comes out of Hollywood. The man pointed out some of the subtleties that are inserted into scripts that go unnoticed by most people but which are actually quite destructive – to individuals (especially children), to families, and thus to the whole society. I am not in disagreement with this. I have seen it myself, as have many people, and much has been said about it. Apparently as a reaction to this, judging by the man’s own words, he is making a film series that illustrates his point while providing a wholesome alternative. I have no problem with what this man is doing, but the interview illustrated some Christian mindsets that I do have problems with. Together, these mindsets have created the phenomenon known as “Christian nationalism”, an unholy attitude in which believers place their comfortable way of life above that of their Christian mission. Thankfully, this is being addressed lately. I have written a little about it myself. It is in my struggle to address this issue more coherently that prompts me to write this.

The man and his interviewer make no bones about the fact that they are standing in opposition to the supposed coming one world government, “antichrist”, etc. I don’t have anything like a concrete eschatological theology, but I do know prophetically that certain bad stuff is going to happen, and I’ve been watching it build in that direction for over forty years. Indeed, the bible makes it clear that the “spirit of antichrist” has always been in the world (1 John 4:3).

My problem is how many Christians choose to stand against such things.

Whenever I see anger or indignation, whether in myself or in another, I know that fear is underneath it. If you doubt this, examine yourself carefully enough, and you will eventually see that it is so. That’s not always a bad thing. If your child is in danger, for example, anger, and fear, are useful responses. The problem I’m having is that I see so much fear, often displayed as anger, in so many Christians. I’m going to make a judgmental guess here, based on a lot of observation; In the case of the Christian nationalists, I don’t think they are afraid of martyrdom, or, ultimately, of persecution. I think they fear their loss of comfort and convenience, of the little empires they are building for themselves. I’m not judging them for building those little empires; I hope to build a little one myself. I have a problem with them making idols of them.

My problem with the filmmaker’s project is that it looks like an act of protest to me, rather than being born simply from his relationship with Jesus, which I have no doubt he possesses. I was around in the ’80’s and ’90’s, during the days of the Moral Majority and the backlash against the agendas of the left. I spoke out vigorously against all the things the “Religious Right” stood against. I was protesting. I felt I was doing Kingdom of God stuff.

Over time, I became aware of unease in my spirit. Being a Bear Of Little Brain, I didn’t bother examining the source of my unease, but I eventually stopped opposing agendas. To this day, however, as a so-called redemptive prophet, I do have trouble resisting the urge to speak out against lies, inconsistency, hypocrisy, and misrepresentation. It’s not the agendas behind them that bother me. It’s what I see as untruth, which, as a characteristic of my spiritual gift, I react against strongly. But I am, no doubt, qualified, possibly even ordained, to speak out against unholy agendas within my own tribe – the Body of Christ – though I may overstep sometimes.

I have been examining the unease in my spirit that I just mentioned, motivated by what is to me a new turn of events. We have, as we have for years, Christians on the right protesting against leftist agendas, but I have only in the last ten to fifteen years noticed we also have Christians on the left protesting against right wing agendas. There is unbelievable vitriole, even hatred (though most will deny it – they actually claim they are acting out of love) of Christian against Christian. This simply must not be.

 

Whatever side of the divide any of us is on, our protest has inherent characteristics, which I observe to be in me when I do it. It is my believe these characteristics are unavoidable, and I believe the history of protest bears this out:

Public protest shows a desire to rule by force; If a movement can prevail through protest, it must then maintain what it has gained by force.

Protest is fear based, because it is motivated by anger; beneath anger, there is always fear.

Protest is selfish; it cares not about the sensibilities of others, thus, it unfailingly leads to “fundamentalism”.

Claiming that one is not protesting, but demonstrating, and therefore fulfilling biblical principles is false. Biblical demonstration does not force itself; it is firstly passive, and when it is active, it is once removed, meaning that it is revealed in our actions of service, care, and brotherly/sisterly kindness toward others. It thereby attracts interest and imitation, rather than forcing its views. See Phillipians 4:5

It is not necessary to create this form or that form of community. What is wanted is a community of harmony and placing the needs of others above one’s own. In that case, it doesn’t matter so much what type of community is created. I believe this is the example of Jesus. Protesters of both persuasions, but especially on the left, claim it is our Christian duty to force justice. I think Jesus demonstrated that we are to see to it ourselves. When we see injustice toward a person, we ourselves are to provide the needed justice, not force others to right their own wrongs. When Christians try to force others to be virtuous, which never produces virtue, they are promoting theocracy. There’s no way I can believe that this was God’s intent. Look to the Dark Ages, because we may be headed there. (Romans 12:18)

As I have written elsewhere, when I and those I team with do evangelism, we serve, and we (hopefully) model love, community, brother/sisterhood, and placing others above ourselves. The style of community is far less important. I would sooner live in a dictatorship in which the bulk of the community lives these ideals consistently than in a democracy where liberty is the hallmark, if it is made up of selfish people who value their ethos above their neighbors.

This mindset of insisting on righteousness from those who have not chosen it, or differ in their expression of it, is itself antichristian. I fully acknowledge that I must keep watch against it in my own heart.

by Ardent Sojourner, July 23, 2017

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2 thoughts on “Of Peace On Earth And The Culture Of Protest

  1. I think I understand your heart here. But I’m wondering if you are speaking of all forms of protest, or just a certain kind? I’m thinking of methods such as riots, strikes, picketing with yelling over bullhorns, but also not giving up a seat on a bus, refusing to ride buses, boycotting, amassing 100s of 1000s and marching, dumping tea in a harbor….

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    1. Thanks, Em, those are excellent points. I can see I should have described exactly what I was addressing. I don’t think riots, as I understand the word, is ever the best tactic, but the other examples you gave have had their time and place. What I was really addressing is protests by people who are not actually victims of anything, or who simply want to push their personal opinions. This blog was directed specifically toward Christians. During the Moral Majority days, and continuing to the present, we see believers fighting back against societal movements away from our Judeo-Christian way of life. That response is completely contrary to our Christian mission. More recently, we see leftist Christians protesting traditional mores. It’s not that they don’t have some valid points to make, but I see their demeanor as unrighteous bullying, no different from the Turn or Burn street preachers; both fit the “fundamentalist” label and neither one represents Christ very well, in my opinion. As for non-Christians doing the same thing, well, we are not to judge those “outside”, but respond with grace for them (1 Corinthians 5:10)

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