Monday, March 19, 2012

Anarchy

I am borrowing a friend's international relations textbook, mostly because I don't know a lot about politics beyond what I studied in high school (and briefly in college). I think it's fair to learn about something that frustrates me, as some of the political dynamics in our country do. I never had any intention of blogging about it, especially not on the first day I endeavored to crack open the book, but then I was surprised at the spiritual connections that rose to surface almost immediately.

The very first words I flipped open to were these (speaking of anarchy):
"In Hobbes account the situation in which men live without a common power to keep them in awe has three principal characteristics. In this situation there can be no industry, agriculture, navigation, trade or other refinements of living because the strength and invention of men is absorbed in providing security against one another..."
I had started these words only half reading them, but snapped to attention. The author was writing about a political principle, but he had touched on a very deep spiritual reality. He says in the same section,
"A persistent theme in the modern discussion of international relations has been that, as a consequence of this anarchy, states do not form together any kind of society; and that if they were to do so it could only be by subordinating themselves to a common authority."
I'll start off by saying that in my studies (in molecular biology), I encountered a recurring theme that all of life, on every level, operates under similar principles. It was not as if biochemistry were confined to the interactions of cells, or the behavior of the brain. Rather, molecules and cells interacted like people and cities. I've never shared this reflection with anyone, but I always found it fascinating. In the most spiritual way possible, I would contend that we are all just chemistry, but a chemistry in a deep and connecting sense. We are created by God, under certain principles that remain true throughout creation.

My guess is, you are not an anarchist. Why? Because you probably recognize that whether or not you agree with the leadership, there is a need for a people to have a central source of authority in their country. Permit me to ask the question, then: if it is so clear to us the need for a governmental authority above ourselves, for our own peace and prosperity, then why don't we think the same principle applies spiritually?

Our culture is hesitant or even hostile to the idea that there is a higher Spiritual authority than ourselves. Or else people will gladly say there is "a power" but will not actually allow it the authority of an identity or value-system. Such a "power" could not challenge the human soul because it is created by the human soul. But from the merciful end of all of this, don't you see? Don't you see that Yahweh designed us to be under authority, and that by design it is such a beautiful and good thing for us? The text says that anarchy means that nations must necessarily always be on the point of war with one another, as an act of self-preservation. I would contend that on an individual level, we are at war with the world until we can come under the blessed refreshing tender mercy of Christ. And yes, of Christ's authority. He provides an anchor point, a sovereignty, a power above ourselves that must be adhered to for our good.

And doesn't that speak to the nature of God? That God designed us to be under authority, yes, but He designed for that to be such a good and beautiful thing. God asks you to submit because it's best for you, and here we are stubbornly saying, Don't tell me what to do! We're missing it... Even in the nature of God - amongst Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - there is mutual submission, service, and love. Perfect community. And that's what He asks of us! Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). Sometimes we treat the idea of submission like it is vulgar. But I would gently ask that next time you feel like bucking the authority of God in your life (whether you know Him or not), reflect for a moment on how good His authority is for you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go


Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go - Ascend the Hill


So anoint me with joy, and joyful I will be


The Lord has every right over my life, or lack thereof. 
The Lord does not owe me anything, but cherishes me as his own. 
The Lord is good to his people...so good.
Do you believe that? Do you know he loves you and holds you? ...Yet do you know that our lives were always meant for his glory, and not for ours? 
Lay it down today, whatever it is. Lay it down and be free.

And we will sing holy holy is the King of Kings