Q & A: my political Facebook posts

 

Q. David, for someone who is apolitical, you certainly don’t shy away from posting links to articles on political subjects on your Facebook. Why is that?

A. I pray the news. I refuse to simply “scan and stew” over or “glance at and gossip about” news that appears in my news feed. Instead, I deliberately attempt to re-frame such in my mind so that they become prompts for me to pray. I believe such is a healthy way of engaging the news that helps me keep the leverage of spiritually-healthy habits in my own hands. That is, rather than just being a passive sponge soaking up what happens to come my way, I seek to actively take people and matters to God in prayer. That’s where they belong, right?

For example, if I come across piece that stirs up in me a reminder to pray for a person or people group spotlighted by that piece I am either not accustomed to praying for, then I pray for them, then and there. I occasionally share links to such posts, along with comments as to how that particular items moved me to pray, with hopes that it will spark in others similar prayers.

Q. While prayer is certainly good, wouldn’t it be better for you, and perhaps for all, to just ignore the whole political scene?

A. I think not. What good would that do? It isn’t like politics is going to just go away anytime soon or that people are going stop drinking in the news. No, we’re just like the ancient Athenians, aren’t we? (“For all Athenians, and even foreign visitors to Athens, had an obsession for any novelty and would spend their whole time talking about or listening to anything new.” – Acts 17.21, Phillips)

And so, if the news if going to wash up on us and we’re going to choose to swim in it, then someone needs to be modeling how to swim in the surf, how to avoid being carried out to see by the riptide, and how not to drown in the swell. I seek to humbly instruct. Period. Among other things, true Christ-followers seek to hold up to the Lord in prayer all who are leaders, not merely those we happen to agree with or who we want to see become leaders (1 Timothy 2.1-2).

Q. Noble. But really now, how many people do you think are actually going to take up seriously praying the news? You’re pretty much alone in this, buddy.

A. No, I don’t believe I’m alone in this by any means. And I seek to lay out and model good. Whether anyone else takes that up or not should have no bearing on my choice of doing what I understand to good in the light of Scripture. I believe I see many people making unhealthy choices all the time as to how they process, or fail to process, “the news.” I seek to hold up a good way of handling “the news” and leave what is done with all of that up to God and others.

Q. Well then, do you have any advice or thoughts in general about how to read your posts, particularly if they link to political matters?

A. Do remember, I am apolitical and so, I refuse to stump for or promote any particular candidate anywhere. If you find some news links I post offensive, recall that they just might have been offensive to me in some way, too. I post not because I necessarily agree or disagree with everything in a piece, but because I know others are likely encountering the same or similar and because such posts prompted me to do the very best thing I could do – talk with God in some way about it all.

strong medicine for all of us

 

A few nights ago (Tuesday) I dedicated two hours to systematically going through my Facebook friends list with one specific question in view: what are my fellow church members posting regarding current events?

Why? Curiosity and to be informed.

I found many good things, and for that, I thank God. However, I must say, it was, to say the very least, and all too very often – by no means an edifying exercise. I would certainly not recommend this exercise to the faint of heart and I would warn the depressed or doubting to not do anything like it. And, given the dates of posting, it was apparent that such matters have only increased in darkness and intensity over the past several weeks as a national election date draws ever closer.

It was as if I was witnessing points of light being dimmed, or even completely overcome, by darkness. (sigh)

As I scrolled and read, five passages of Scripture kept popping up in my mind, firing off like popcorn. What were those passages? Here they are (with my own application points inserted in all CAPS, within brackets).

Our Lord Jesus said …

1. “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter [VIA SHARING ON SOCIAL MEDIA].” (Matthew 12.36)

An apostle of our Savior said …

2. “[POSTING] Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes [ON SOCIAL MEDIA] — these are not for you.” (Ephesians 5.4)

3. “Let your [SOCIAL MEDIA] conversation be always full of grace …” (Colossians 4.6a)

An unknown preacher, inspired by the Holy Spirit said …

4. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone [ON SOCIAL MEDIA] and to be holy, for without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12.14)

And the Lord’s half-brother said …

5. “With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image [VIA SOCIAL MEDIA]. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day [OR POST] and brackish the next, does it?” (James 3.9-11)

And so …

Let us re-dedicate our tongues and typing fingers to the Lord, my brothers and sisters. May we do that by re-dedicating our heart to him in repentance and profession of faith. Daily.

And may we never forget that along with our God who knows even the motives unknown to us that help give rise to our thoughts, feelings, words, and ways, a world full of people, yet to believe, are also closely watching us and reading us, along with brothers and sisters of greatly varying degrees of strength, burden, understanding, and maturity.

Let us not stumble, and let us not unwittingly cause, or lead, others to do the same, or worse. Rather, may we be an example of humility and godliness not only to all fellow believers, but to all who are yet to believe.

Deliver us from evil, Lord. Grant us, by your grace, to rise to this occasion, reflecting your light, and by no means, or media, adding to this world’s darkness. Amen.

Grace and PEACE, my fellow sheep.

By preachersmith Posted in Links

prayer before a hummingbird feeder

 

I have several hummingbird feeders in my yard and most of the year we have guests at those feeders. The Ruby-throated hummers are by nature extremely territorial. If I happen to walk near one of the feeders and there is a hummingbird nearby at the time, I can expect to hear them repeatedly voice their displeasure and often begin to see them zoom about a bit several yards off. However, this month is the first time I have had a hummingbird “strafe” me.

The particular Ruby-throated male I have in mind is exceedingly bold, unflinchingly flying, or even hovering for relatively long periods of time, within 1-2 feet of me. If he is hovering beside me or behind me and I then turn and face him directly, he will immediately put a bit more distance between us – beyond arm’s length – but will then proceed to repeatedly buzz me quite close until either I leave or he changes tactics.

I greatly admire his courage and bravery. How much bigger am I than he? There is no comparison. But does that make a difference in his actions? None whatsoever. I can consistently count on this: if we are in the yard at the same time – and believe me, he knows it if we are – he will confront me, the “enemy,” and will do so courageously with skill and wisdom.

All of which reminds me of two things. First, that one of the themes that runs like a rope throughout the entirety of the book of Acts – the book in the Bible like no other that tells of the true life of our community of faith for today, the church – is backbone and fortitude, guts, and nerve.  In fact, such even forms the final word in the book. It is the dominant thought that Luke, the author, wants imprinted on our mind and ringing in our ears until the end:

“… proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28.31)

Second, it reminds me of things James, Peter, and Paul said:

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4.7)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith …” (1 Peter 5.8-9a)

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16.13-14)

And so my feathered “friend” – my aerial “hero” – prompts me to pray this way:

God, make me ever like this bird: courageous and strong, skillful and wise, confident and yet well aware of my limitations. May I know no fear save fear of displeasing you and may every beat of my heart be beats of trust in you, for I know you care for me always. So, what have I to fear, for you are with me? And so, may I be with you. Daily. By the courageous Christ I pray. Amen.