Just when we were having a sense of hope, and we were turning the page on 2020 and entering into 2021, something else bad happened.
Violence Erupts in DC & Arrests Made
On Wednesday January 6th, a “Save America ” rally organized itself outside of the Capitol Buildings in Washington, DC in order to protest what is perceived by many on the right as a “stolen” election. This was being done as the Senate was meeting in order to certify the Electoral College vote, in which Donald Trump lost the 2020 Presidential Election to Joe Biden.
As the entire world knows, things turned violent. Just as Trump promised a few weeks before, the rally would be “wild.” And it became just that. Trump, in a highly charged speech insisted over and over again that that 2020 election had been stolen from him and the people, and that the Democrats were coming after him and his supporters, with promised persecution.
President Trump’s speech was the moral equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. In this instance, our theater was the presidential election and the balance of political power in America. It is a claim that can do nothing but incite violence. In a democratic society, if people believe they were wrongfully deprived of the fundamental ability to vote, such people will feel robbed of the power they have to determine the direction of their lives, and that of their nation.
As a result, things turned ugly. Protestors infiltrated the US Capitol building, resulting in at least 5 deaths. The National Guard was eventually called in, and the city went into lockdown.
However, the US Department Of Justice says there is “no indication Antifa played a role in Wednesday’s chaos at the US Capitol.”
Instead it has been Trump supporters and far right-wing extremist groups who identify as QAnon as time, after time, after time, after time that keep getting arrested. Some of those arrested have even been state Republican lawmakers.
Removing Trump From Everything
SInce then, there have been discussions of removing President Trump from his office either by Vice President Pence and the cabinet invoking the 25th amendment, or by holding another impeachment trial against Trump. Several high ranking Trump administration officials have resigned.
However, shortly after this President Trump put out a series of statements on Twitter that suggested he might be still yet up to something, and walking back his concession. Worried about possibly inciting more violence, Twitter took swift action, along with Facebook, and has permanently banned the President from their platforms.
According to reports:
“Twitter said it feared Trump’s most recent tweets were being interpreted as supporting the rioters and that plans for future armed protests had already been proliferating both on and off the platform, including a proposed attack on the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings on Jan. 17.”~Per CNBC
Others have reported that a variety of groups are planning to violently protest Joe Biden’s inauguration on the 19th or 20th.
Angered over this perceived infringement on the freedom of speech by social media companies in their crack down on Trump and others, many Trump supporters started a mass exodus from Facebook and Twitter to alternate social media sites like Parler.
And just as that started happening, Google removed Parler from their Android app store, and Apple is currently looking to do the same. This has angered many over the perceived crack down on the freedom of speech by the tech giants, and the hypocrisy they show as they take sides that are much more comfortable with left leaning speech, than that of the right.
In 1838 Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech called, “The Lyceum Address” in which, after making glowing remarks about the founding of America, Lincoln gave a sobering warning about our possible demise as a nation:
“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.“~ Abraham Lincoln
I perceive Abraham Lincoln’s remarks are something to consider at this moment in time. His words may ultimately prove to be prophetic.
This past year with the coronavirus pandemic, racial unrest and violent protests, economic woes, and highly contentious election, we are living in the most divisive point of American history in the past 40 years. Conspiracy theories abound on the left and the right. People have become increasingly politically polarized. A man’s enemies are now members of his own household.
It remains highly unlikely that America will ever suffer defeat at the hands of a foreign army.
Our Atlantic and Pacific oceans, coupled with the physical size of our land, remain our greatest source of national defense that makes it all but impossible for another country to invade and occupy. Coupled with the fact that we are highly technologically advance, we are wealthy, we have more guns than people, and possess a stockpile of nuclear bombs that if unleashed would probably destroy the planet. We are practically bullet proof as a nation when it comes to external threats.
Indeed, if we are to ever fall as a nation, it’ll be our strife from within.
A strife that ultimately owes its origins to our violent and contentious founding, which historically speaking, still wasn’t very long ago. If we are to ever fall, it’ll be because our founders set up a form of government, that, for all its wisdom, can be a source of constant friction, as people with often diametrically opposed values are forced to work together to get anything done. If we are to ever fall, it’ll be because we have managed to politicize and moralize just about every interaction with one another as a war between demonic enemies, instead of a meeting of the minds between neighbors and fellow citizens.
What Comes Next?
I’m not sure what is coming next. My prophetic gifts are better used for understanding the current moment than they are at predicting the future.
All I know for certain is that I am kinda at a lost.
I believe to my bones that the next few weeks as we watch the transition of power take place, that it will not be peaceful. I feel like I’m looking into a sea of blackness.
As a watchman, all I can do is look and wait. I don’t know how this will ultimately play out. I’m hoping for good things, and trusting in the Lord about the future as I normally do. I remain naturally optimistic.
Things Are Heating Up
But as I have conversations with people on the left and on the right, and as I see the glee and terror both sides feel, I cannot help but sense there are a lot of people planning to do some pretty stupid stuff. There is talk of civil war and violent uprising. People on the margins are really freaking out.
The vitriolic language of both sides is unsustainable. Some people are taking victory laps, while others who feel like they are losing their country are preparing for war. People are becoming increasingly isolated, increasingly tribal, and increasingly radicalized. They don’t give a damn about their neighbor.
Right now everyone is clamoring for power and trying to come out on top. One side is doing it through a raised clenched fist. The other is looking to conquer through a cross that’s been draped with an American flag.
People are taking dramatic steps towards the edge. We are ready to drive off a cliff with whatever bus driver we like the most. And as we deal out retribution, we never stop to think what consequences our actions will have, or even bother to ask about what the possible blowback might be. We just take swift actions, and say to hell with the consequences.
If there were ever a sign of God’s judgment on America, it would be this. According to the apostle Paul in Romans 1:18-32, when God judges people, God simply gives them over to the fullness of their sin.
One lie begets another lie that requires another lie on top of that lie. And before you know it, you are plunged into a sea of lies, and living in a world divorced from any sense of what is real. You “fight for the truth” only to find yourself swimming in a stream of lies and conspiracy theories, entirely divorced from facts and reality.
And the way I see it, both on the left and the right, we haven’t been a people who love the truth. We simply love “winning” and coming out on top. We want to dominate others, and feel a sense of control.
We love our fortunes, we love our power, and we love taking sides. And everything we do is to that end. And instead of a life marked by the fullness of joy, we’ll find one marked by destruction and conquest.
What comes next? I don’t know. But I feel a lot of people are becoming increasingly disconnected. They feel defrauded. They are feeling cut off. They are afraid.
And people who feel cut off and afraid become dangerous.
My Inside Scoop As An Evangelical Christian
I’ve gone to church with some of these folks.
And I can say as an evangelical Christian with deeply Pentecostal and Charismatic background, who runs in mostly conservative leaning circles. You might not like a lot of these people, but forcing them underground and ostracizing them won’t be pretty.
As Christians we are supposed to be a people who walk in the love of Jesus and and make peace. Many of my fellow Christians have long abandoned such teachings of Jesus.
They don’t see their enemies as individuals to be loved, and they’ve grown tired of turning the other cheek. At this point, many would prefer to baptize others at swordpoint.
And with their religion being conflated with being a patriotic American, there is a very real sense that a highly radicalized faction of them just might attempt to do that, to baptize others at swordpoint.
Talking with many people in these circles, I’m at the point where I realize that no amount of careful reasoning, documenting of facts, or appeals to the teachings of Jesus will persuade any of these folks. They are a danger, not only to the future of Christianity, which they have long polluted, but to America.
And while I definitely have my concerns about other groups in the church and in this country, the perspective I bring today is simply that of someone who has been plunged deeply into a certain subculture of the population. I’ve been to Bible college and seminary. I’ve been active in the life of the church for 20 years. I’ve been in many churches, both small and large, rural and urban. I am well connected, and know what many people in my circles are saying.
The warning bells I’m ringing come from within my own camp.
Taking A Break
With this podcast today, after 94 straight weeks of publishing new content every week, I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do in the coming weeks is to take a little bit of a break. Just for a couple weeks.
I’m exhausted. and spent.
I feel a lot of pain in our country. And I simply want to carefully watch things unfold.
I want to pray. I want to grieve and lament.
I want to simply seek Jesus, and find some time of refreshing. I want to step away a bit from being a voice, and just listen. I want to give all of this over to the hands of Jesus, who alone can calm this raging storm.
I’ll probably still be somewhat active on Facebook and Twitter. But I’ll probably just mostly share funny memes and pictures of my food, as well as sharing this podcast episode with others. Feel free to reach out to me there if you wish.
God bless us all in these difficult times.