The Common Good

Will He Find Faith?

 C.S. Lewis described himself as a dinosaur as he lived in a cultural landscape that seemed to change before his eyes.

Black and white magnolia, Gregory Johnston / Shutterstock.com
Black and white magnolia, Gregory Johnston / Shutterstock.com

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I don’t feel like a dinosaur, but I do feel like a disembodied voice crying in the wilderness as I struggle, like a fish swimming upstream, to believe that the Gospel is real and solid and still matters.

It’s not that cynics and agnostics have convincing arguments – though some do.

And it’s not as if Faith itself has lost its power and edge – because it hasn’t.

Perhaps it’s true in every age, but it certainly seems more true now, that many of those who call themselves believers, believe and live as if they believe a different Gospel altogether.

The contradiction is so thorough, it must be deliberate.

Many of those who say they follow the One persecuted and finally murdered by most of the self-righteous of his own faith, model themselves after them – not Him.

They call themselves ‘pro-life’ as they rave about life before birth, but seem to care little about the safety and security of living children.

In fact, do they care about ‘life’ at all?

Do we see them volunteering in their communities? Taking care of the broken and lost among us?

Do we see them as advocates of clean air and water or honorable, productive and safe employment?

Do we see them as advocates of quality education for all of our children? Or adequate healthcare for all of us?

The Holy Spirit is described as God’s ‘advocate’ for each one of us, but these ‘advocates’ among us clearly serve an entirely different ‘lord’.

In fact their first instinct seems to be to kill anyone – in word or body – who would dare remind them – even without words – how far they are from the One they say they follow.

Lately these ‘pro-life’ advocates are most vocal and determined, not about rescuing or even honoring life – they are obsessed with their own ‘right’ to weapons that take life.

They love the tools, the fury, the visceral power and, of course, the spoils of death.

Their own Gospels call them to a life abundant and marked by restoration, hope, generosity and a welcoming and forgiving spirit.

What lost discouraged or cynical soul would not fly to such a community?

It’s not that I ‘disagree’ with these people. In fact it’s almost the opposite; they, by their lives and beliefs, disagree with their own Gospel, their own hearts, their own natures and traditions.

They inhabit an ever-shrinking world where fear has replaced hope, deep-seated panic has replaced peace, and faith has become something brittle and faltering that must be defended at all costs in a world where all those who do not believe as they do are wrong, and evil, and damned.

These people see the world, as any delusional person might, filled with conspiracies, plots, secret enemies and end-times fantasies; they define themselves by their anti-intellectual obsession with death and destruction.

Catastrophe and cataclysm delight them; they are cheerleaders of collapse and corruption, even as they stand aside with their wagging fingers and sterile slogans.

These ambassadors of death, like Crusaders of centuries ago, carry the insignia and banners of the faith they repudiate as they murder, rape, and pillage in its name.

Yes, I feel like a flower in the track of the seemingly eternal boot, machinery, destruction and blood-lust of war.

And perhaps it is so.

But hatred and war and destruction, as much as some people seem to love them, cannot go on forever.

And when the fury is spent, and so much blood has been spilled that even we are sick of it, perhaps the flowers, God’s flowers, will cover the carnage and barren fields with God’s glory, and this time, the rainbow will not hover over the earth, but will cover it with a healing embrace as a mother comforts a new born child.

Morf Morford considers himself a free-range Christian who is convinced that God expects far more of us than we can ever imagine, but somehow thinks God knows more than we do. To pay his bills, he’s been a teacher for adults (including those in his local county jail) in a variety of setting including Tribal colleges, vocational schools and at the university level in the People’s Republic of China. Within an academic context, he also writes an irreverent ESL blogand for the Burnside Writers Collective. As he’s getting older, he finds himself less tolerant of pettiness and dairy products.

Photo: Black and white magnolia, Gregory Johnston / Shutterstock.com

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