The Times They Are A-Changin’

I just got done watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy with my wife. If you haven’t seen it before, do watch it. Or read the books if that’s your thing. It’s quite timely. How so?

The scene is in Middle Earth as the Age of Elves is coming to a close and there is tension about the next age. Will it be the age of Man or the age of Orcs? The Elves recognize that their time is past and are setting sail to the great beyond. A vacuum is forming and like all vacuums in atmosphere, it will be filled.

There is a ring that the dark lord Sauron needs to ensure victory for the Orcs. It cannot be hidden. It cannot be guarded with enough resources. It cannot be destroyed anyplace but where it was crafted, and that is in the heart of Sauron’s land. A group is formed to travel to this land and destroy it, even as some in the group find themselves desiring it. This group understands that the age of the Elves is closing and their quest is not to extend that time. Just like us in this Earth, there is no going back to the innocent days beforehand.

There most likely is a really good resource on the lessons from LOTR, but I haven’t read it and my backlog of books to read is already pretty extensive. I did get the lure of covetousness demonstrated most clearly by Smeagle, but also by Bilbo and by Boromir, and later by Frodo. You can covet even something that you currently own, which is another word for idolatry.

Back to my original train of thought. One age is closing and the next age is in the balance. That is what the war is all about. Frodo and Sam must destroy the ring that would give the victory over to the Orcs, and also the war must be won by the humans, with representatives from the waning elves and dwarves in the mix, not to mention some surprising hobbits.

2020 marked the end of an age and there is a cold war going on right now to see what the next age will look like. There must be a reset, and going back to the 1950’s is not an option. The war is over who gets to define the terms in the next age. Now if only we had a ring to toss into the fires of Mt. Doom… Ridding one nation over the universal stain of abortion won’t do it, though it is a battlefield. Rejecting vaccine requirements is one of the battles as well, but not the one ring to rule them all.

If forced to come up with that one ring that must be destroyed, I suppose one could do worse than to say that that ring is represented as the secularism that defines so much of our culture. Human autonomy and libertarian free will is the idol that allows for Darwinism, Feminism, as well as a love for money that eclipses our love for God, which is the root of all kinds of evil.

Destroying secularism isn’t as simple as walking into Mordor and scaling a vertical staircase toward a raging volcano though. It involves you. Getting involved. It means running for school board whether or not you have children in the school system. It means attending church services and becoming a part of the church, not just an attender. It means reading your Bible daily. It means putting to death the way you used to be so that the way you are becoming can come alive. Read Colossians 3, which is perhaps my favorite chapter in the Bible, for a glimpse of what that looks like.

The next era is coming, and no I don’t mean something as preposterous as a new dispensation. I mean that the next generation will have trouble understanding what life looked like for the previous generation. The age of whatever we were was destroyed by the Greatest Generation and the way they trained their offspring to coddle their children. Superficiality reigned supreme, making a fertile bed for secularism. Men are now soft. Christians are among the softest. No culture was ever won for Jesus through a softly complying church, championing the besetting sin of niceness all the way to irrelevancy.

Acts 4:15-18
 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

Notice that the religious council did not tell Peter and John to stop healing people. They only told them to stop speaking the name of Jesus. Your local community loves the food bank that your church supports. They love it when you invite people to your safe events. They think it’s great that you provide all sorts of benefits to the community. They just don’t want you to do any of these things in the name of Jesus. It might make someone uncomfortable, don’t you see?

What was it that made this event happen in the first place? A lame beggar was asking for some financial aid from Peter and John. Too many churches of today would have provided him what he asked for and been on their merry way, perhaps following up in a week or two to see how he was doing. But the apostles did pretty much the opposite.

Acts 3:6-8
But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

The Times They Are A-Changin’. That much is a guarantee. There is no stopping it, but the church can have a say in what the next times will look like. It begins by approaching things in the ways that the Bible directs and not in the ways that too many spineless pastors suggest. It means making some hard decisions. It means obeying God and not Man. It means abandoning your “Christian Witness” if the only way to build that witness is to become nothing more than background noise. It means rejecting the very notion that it is important to “have a seat at the table.” It means doing everything through the power of Jesus, to the glory of Jesus.

And the best way to do that is to obey Him and to proclaim His name.

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Published by CoffeeSwirls