Great discussion and suggestion around a topic du jour. Christian, you should not participate in their rituals. Be prepared to answer why you won’t.
When the enemy says I’m done, I’ll lift my praises
When my world come crashing down, I’ll lift my praises high
‘Til the darkness turns to dawn, I’ll lift my praises
I choose to worship, I choose You now
Sometimes the dark is darker than dark. But as Psalm 139 reminds us, “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” The darkness cannot steal my song. Nothing can. Storms, floods, armies, and persecution can try but none of it can take my song. Why? Because it comes from the Lord. The Lord that is over all. So, as Chris Llewellyn beautifully writes, “I build my alter right here and now. In the midst of the darkest night it won’t burn out.”
The phrase means different things to different people. By and large, it has been the way of the West of centuries. Put a different way, most areas of disagreement do not constitute separation.
We deal with this in the church all the time, where Albert Mohler divides theological arguments into three tiers. First tier issues being orthodoxy and worth saying “you are not a Christian” over. These are matters of heresy. Second tier issues are matters that divide denominations, such as paedobaptism. We agree that we are both Christians, but we might not be able to go to the same church together. Third tier are the, what I call, long-beard issues. These are topics that are fun to discuss and debate, but have no affect on our salvation.
I say this to say that we need to think about what hills are worth dying on and realize that the majority of hills are not worth such acts.
This leads us back to the phrase: agree to disagree. When we agree to disagree on a specific topic, sometimes that looks like leaving the topic lay, knowing there is disagreement and being okay with it. There are other topics to discuss, after all. Other times we respectfully continue conversation around the topic because of a mutual desire to understand people we disagree with.
But the truth of the matter is that the existence of agreeing to disagree means that there are topics we cannot agree to disagree on. See first tier topics. For a Christian, this doesn’t mean that you hate— or show any less love for— the person you disagree with, it just means the disagreement is on a topic important enough to cut certain ties— in the context of these disagreements, the tie is the church, this individual is not allowed to lead or participate in certain ways in one’s church and could see church discipline, for instance. For instance, sometimes a disagreement can be on a topic important enough to prevent an individual from being around your children.
These are healthy things to do, but one has to weigh the importance of topics. As a Christian, we have to weigh these things against the Bible and our duties therein.
As a Christian, we are to go and spread the Gospel. To do that, you will be encountering people that disagree with you on the topics that are of most importance to you as a Christian every single day. If I cut ties with everyone that believed that children with Down Syndrome should be rooted out in the womb and murdered, I would be cutting ties with a lot of people that need Jesus. This ends in me being Amish, sequestered to a hundred acres in Arkansas with no Internet, no phone, and no contact with the outside world. Just me, my woodshop, and lots of laughing kids. Actually, that sounds great. But my Lord commands that I engage with the world.
But that is the Christian worldview. Lovingly living alongside men and women that disagree with us is part of the plan. It’s how we spread the Gospel. The worldview that is spreading through the West like wildfire is almost Darwinian: destroy those that you disagree with. Why would you continue to love someone that disagrees with you? You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. And the result is that the bar for what is worth destroying a relationship, or possible relationship, is much lower for many. What used to clearly fall into “you are Jewish and I am Christian, but we can still be friends,” now lands in “you are Christian and I am trans, so we cannot be friends and I’ll call your manager on Monday to demand that they fire you.”
This is a worldview difference that is stark as we enter into an era of post-Christian society. Where a couple decades ago the atheists followed Christian principles, the new atheists most certainly do not. For many of them, not only are they not okay with agreeing to disagree on their topics, they will chase you down and harass you until you agree. That will come in the way of threats of violence against you, threats against your job, threats to destroy your reputation, threats to go after your children, and worse.
Some of those reading this have seen this form of disagreement either personally or close friends. Others think I am being sensational and hyperbolic. I assure you I am not. All those types of threats I mentioned in the last paragraph I have experienced personally in the last year.
Please Christian, be aware that persecution is coming in the States. If your job hasn’t been threatened yet, it will be sooner or later. You will get a call from HR and be told to defend yourself against baseless claims. If your children haven’t been used as collateral to get your obedience yet, they will be sooner or later. Hold to your faith and show grace in these situations. Look to the martyrs of old. Don’t waiver in your faith or your testimony.
Understand, Christian, that we are dealing with worldview differences so often now that it is becoming normal. Try to be peaceable in all things and know that many in our modern world have no intent on doing anything of the such. You are now the counterculture.
Note: I wrote the following in June of last year in my journal. Many words were written in that journal that will not be published. Some were too personal, some too dark. But the following I believe should see the light of day.
Overwhelmed. It is a word that has consumed my life as of late. And I have been struggling to grasp it all. The darkness of the world caught up to me.
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 (RSV)
Our world. Seems like a whirlwind over the past couple decades. I started to see the slope when I entered college. And the world has slid. And slid. And slid. And those of us that go the opposite direction of the cliff are called crazy. But I am quick to point out to those baffled by the illogic of it all that we are arguing with the Dead. How can we expect them to reason?
Our battle? It is with the rulers of the darkness.
And that darkness. Until Christ returns that darkness is here to stay. And while light pushes back darkness, while the Church spreads the Light, at times it can feel that we are outnumbered. That we are outmatched.
But so was Gideon. And that was the point.
For we are not alone in the darkness. We are not to rely on ourselves in the darkness. We are with Christ and He with us.
In this present darkness, I have been thinking about monsters. Dragons, titans, fearsome beasts out to do nothing but destroy. It is hard to not look out into the night and wonder what is looking back. Knowing that our war is against the rulers of the darkness, I look out and know they look back. I shudder and hold to my torch.
Neil Gaiman wrote what he thought was a quote from GK Chesterton in saying:
Fairy tales are more than true;
not because they tell us that dragons exist,
but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
This was a bit of an oversummarization of GK1, but it gets to his point. As children we know that our world is scary. We do not have to be taught this. We know, just beyond the edge of the veil of darkness, monsters creep, waiting to devour us. We know the importance of light and staying by it, maybe if for no other reason but to be able to see what comes. Fairy tales teach us that we have a Savior fearless and ready to grab his sword, ready to ride into the darkness and return with the head of a dragon.
Yes, there are dragons just beyond sight, lurking, ready to ambush you. Flaming tongues ready to burn you alive. But behind you stands a Slayer of Dragons. His Sword sharp, His wit sharper. While our mortal frames are frail, we are given strength to battle monsters of an unseen realm.
So here I am. Overwhelmed by the darkness. The coals of my fire casting low flickers of light against the trees. Though my encampment is surrounded by the enemy, though the dragons lurk, I am safe in Christ. He sits by, sword at the ready. And in Him, I can persevere.
GK Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
“The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it—because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” ↩
Our nation is running towards revival or civil war.
The hatred is crackling, the energy is raising, and everything is on edge. Either lightning strikes, the fire ignites, and people start killing each other or God drops us to our knees and a massive revival resets us. Very little can calm down the animosity that we are seeing.
Very little can reunite us.
I pray that God plans the prior.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Matthew 5:44 KJV
Indoctrinate your kids—or someone else will.— Brian Sauvé (@Brian_Sauve) August 2, 2023
You have a job, Christian. Indoctrinate your children, raise them in the faith. Sending them to be raised by the world for 30+ hours a week and thinking that you can counter all the world’s indoctrination is stupidity. This is your job. If you don’t do it, someone else will. They are more than willing.
We were at a local beach with our kids a few weeks ago. A weekend out, away from the stress of the world. My daughter, ever the friendly one, was playing with a young boy when I got a sick, deep in my stomach feeling. I approached the lad and asked, “Bud, what’s your name?” He responded, “My name is Ivy and I’m a girl. I can prove it, I have seven Barbies at home.”
Let us be clear, girls do not talk this way and Ivy was not a girl.
Not having encountered this kind of situation yet, I pulled my daughter aside and told her that she cannot call him a girl as this is a lie, but could call the young man Ivy. I allowed my daughter to continue playing with him, but we stayed close. All the interactions were strained and weird.
What I learned at home shook me to my core. My daughter told my wife that she was playing with the young boy and a group of children. They split up boys and girls to play a game. The boy then yelled at my daughter, demanding that she call him a girl or he wouldn’t play with her. He kept scolding her until she caved and said, “fine, you’re a girl!”
Parents. I failed. My gut said to get her away, to protect her, but my heart assumed that this boy wasn’t going to do anything while I was close. Unfortunately he had already done it before I realized what was happening. And I am furious.
This child was taught to manipulate other children. His mother was close by. My daughter felt violated, didn’t know how to tell us there. Didn’t understand why this boy was yelling at her.
This is the insidious part of transgenderism. It would be one thing if they lived their lives and let us live ours. But that isn’t how it works. They must force us to participate in their charade. But to participate is to bear false witness. To lie. My daughter knew this boy wasn’t a girl, but she wanted to play. That’s why we were at the beach. To have fun, to decompress. But this young child decided to prey on her, to force her to lie. And all she wanted was to play so he took advantage of that to force her.
Let me speak clearly, we have learned a lesson in my house. My guard is sharpened.
Parents, this is what is lurking below the waves. Be vigilant. They want you to speak their lies. To deny truth. And they dance in the streets chanting that they are coming for your children. Trust them when they say that. They are.
I overheard someone grumbling at a gas station about the curse of work this morning. It caught me off guard. It brought me back to some the earliest practical theology that stuck with me.
Work came before the fall.
It’s both simple and resounding. Adam had to work in the Garden. This was deemed good. To cultivate, to dominate, to steward. These were tasks for mankind in the perfect, good Creation before sin entered the world.
This is why idle hands get men into trouble. We were not designed to do nothing. It’s why you hear so many say they cannot vacation well. They want to be doing things. I am one of those people. Too long away from working and I start to get anxious. Yes, reading a good book is great, a taking a day by the beach can be relaxing, a week driving around the mountains to mesmerizing, and a week at a music festival charges up the batteries, but…
I was made to work.
I wake up early, usually between 4 and 5am, and work on side projects— like the new mandolin I just started— to get by brain ready for the day. A work friend jokingly said that once the kids move out I’d likely start sleeping in and I responded that I’d still be getting up early and going into the shop to build things.
If I didn’t have my day job as an engineer I would be building other things, whether apps or wooden things. Simply, I could never go more than a week or two without productively doing things.
If you treat work as a part of the curse, that is where your bar will be. If you reset your heart to seeing that work was created by God, you can start to see the importance of your role in the world, even if lowly, and start to bring glory to God in one of the most substantial parts of your life.
In my life I keep quoting this post I made in February. When we are facing the dragons in our lives, it is our Lord that the victory belongs to, not us. If our Lord willed our pens would break and ours swords would become mere cardboard tubes. It is only by His will that victory is had and to Him be the glory.
Sometimes I swing my flimsy sword at the throats of dragons and have the audacity to think my half-hearted thrust mattered in their fall whilst ignoring the Lion’s roaring bellow behind me.
Let me not claim victories that do not belong to me. Let me recognize the power of God, for I am but a jar of clay.