Now that it’s December, I can freely go full tilt Christmas – carols on the old beat box 24/7, red & green everywhere, and of course, change the header.
Keith & I have been kicking around the “”war on Christmas” discussion this weekend. It has led to some great conversation. That in combination with watching Amazing Grace again (thanks, Aunt Charley!!!), has brought a lot of things to mind.
After reading over my last post on Christmas, it looks like I could be saying we should wash our hands of society, give up, & head for cover. Part of me wants to say this cultural war is over – we’ve been fighting it for at least two generations & it looks like we have now lost the war & are in desperate need of a revolution. But the other part of me (that I didn’t write about in the last post) says things have been bad before & men like Wilberforce were able to bring about change over time, they just had to keep chipping away at it & never give up. The movie was a great reminder of that. Falwell’s last big push before he left for Home was to work on this war on Christmas. Dobson is working for change. Thank God for men who have through the years pushed back at the natural tide of human debauchery. Part of me says “Merry Christmas” is one of the last pieces & is so small in the scheme of things – is it worth the fight? The other side of me knows it is worth fighting for the Christian influence in our society no matter how far gone it seems.
Obviously there’s still a fight going on. Would we have serious candidates as polar opposite as Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee up for the next election if the war were over? The church has got to stand up, be counted & want society to stay under Christian influence, though. I still say it all goes back to the Church. When God’s people stand up & fight the Enemy, the gates of hell cannot prevail against them. American churches have spent the lasts few generations relaxing in the norm. It’s time to understand the times & act accordingly (see my last post on the subject). We have to understand that we are in a spiritual battle. Maybe this whole Christmas thing will help people wake up? It’s worth a shot.
Wilberforce didn’t give up & England at that time was in pretty bad shape – slavery, orphans, brothels, drunkenness, beggars, etc. England would’ve considered themselves to be a Christian nation at that time just like we do. It took decades of men like Mueller setting up orphanages, Dickens writing A Christmas Carol (to put a spotlight on the needs in the society in a “winsome” way), & Wilberforce working tirelessly in the political arena. He also had his band of friends canvasing the country with the message, working to change the hearts & minds of the people at the same time he was working with the lawmakers. There were dark times in the past, but one voice has & can change things!! HOPE!
One last thing that struck me about England & their cultural wars: common sense said that if they abolished slavery their economy would crumble & it would not work. In reality, it ushered in an era of prosperity & paved the way to become the world’s empire! How did that happen? The same way King David was able to do what he did (2 Samuel 5:10 – “And David became more & more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.”) We can’t lose sight of the fact it is the Lord Who causes nations to rise & fall for His good purposes (don’t have the reference for that off hand – anyone out there know?).
A couple of great quotes from Amazing Grace…
Future Prime Minister Pitt talking to Wilberforce early on in his political career – “Are you going to use your voice for praising God or to change the world?”
The Quakers when talking to Wilberforce about joining their cause – “We understand you’re having a problem trying to decide whether to do the work of God or the work of a political activist. We humbly suggest that you can do both.”
Wilberforce when later planning about how to change the hearts & minds of the people – “We’re talking about the truth, so we should hand it out to people: drop it from the church roofs, paint pictures of it, make songs about it, make bloody pies out of it!”
There’s that TRUTH word again (see The Truth Project).
(Maybe I should start working on writing a song about…)
Wilberforce about his mission in life – “God has set before me two great objects: the supression of the slave trade & the reformation of society.”