Yes, we’ve been out of pocket for a few weeks now. After returning from family matters, work (yes, I have a real job) was a bit overwhelming for many reasons. At any rate, we hope that the new year will provide us both more opportutnity to share daily thoughts and to begin expanding the focus of The Conservative Reader to more principled discussions.
Tonight and tomorrow many of us will be visiting our local churches to share in celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our family will be worshiping this evening.
Three things to share today.
The First Amendment
Thank God for the freedom in our society, as declared by the wisdom of the founders of our country, to worship freely as we see fit, or not to worship at all. I’m sure that some of the motivation behind this right comes from the surprising amount of diversity and infighting among different groups (denominations) who all profess to worship the same Christ, and the history of violence of government against those who do not worship the government’s official “church”. And yet I’m also confident that the generation that established our Bill of Rights also perceived the need to protect any who chose to worship other than the norm, including Jewish, Islam, Native American religions, Oriental religions, or none at all.
This is a precious freedom, and one of a handful that if we ever lose it, we should know we have reached a sprial into tyrany. And that where some may try to chip away at that freedom even today we run the risk of progressing to ruin.
Some may want to ask what occasionally ruminating about my own personal faith has to do with Conservative thought. Some may even say it is proof that Conservatives are nothing more than pawns for the Religious Right.
There is something important to convey here, however. Conservative thought is certainly made up of ideas and opinions that can be based on speculation of how different courses of action may progress, or how to understand historical events and apply them to current events. Those that really understand Conservativism would realize that a large part of it is about understanding the past and applying it effectively to create sustainable solutons for the future.
And in order to achieve this kind of effectiveness requires understanding Truth. We have become a society that believes that Truth is relative. What is True for one can be False for another. Therefore, 1 + 1 can equal 5. And one can justify this in any number of ways, including building an entirely new system of mathematic symbols and functions that are inconsistent with what we have built within our conventional decimal based system, but functional nonetheless. But with an established set of communication standards and symbology, and assuming a non-Berkelian world-view (Berkeley perspective on reality was rather non-material to say the least), we should be able to reasonably establish Truth in many matters through the use of emperical data or a reasonable study and assessment of historical evidence.
Which leads me to my point (points help keep things moving now, don’t they?). Truth is fundamental to an accurate assessment of history and application to future events, and the story of Jesus is an example of one aspect of truth that will provide real success in this world and the next.
While I am very confident from a number of perspectives of the Truth of the Bible, the existinence of God and the work of Jesus Christ to secure our eternal salvation, many struggle because of the lack of repeatable empirical data. Or more ironically, due to the fact that God, as the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, does not meet the expectations of those whom He has created (and who further repudiate His existence).
I am convinced of the Truth of who God is based on:
- What He has done in the lives of others
- What He has done to change the world
- What He has done to change my life
- What He has done to make America prosper
- The historical account and other evidence of the events in the Bible
- The longevity and sustainability of both Jewish and Christian faiths
- The consistency of God’s message to Man and fulfillment of Prophecies
And, yes, I am convinced through this and what He teaches me in the Bible that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God. Sorry. And yet I also believe that others have the right to worship as they see fit, and that includes (as much as I hate to say it) Wiccans. But the Truth remains.
Can this Truth be proven to others? Yes and no. Ultimately, many do and will continue to deny the Truth of who God is. It is unfortunate. Even Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor in Jerusalem, had trouble with the topic, responding to Jesus’ reference to Jesus’ proclamation of the truth (John 18:37-38):
“What is Truth?”
But it is relevant, since for many Conservatives, a grounding in the Truth of who God is provides a valuable foundation for building Conservative upon, especially in establishing the role of government and importance of Law.
A Story For All
So as we consider the importance of our freedoms and the importance of understanding Truth, I find it extremely important to realize just how much the story of Christmas is intended for everyone on Earth, whether one is ready to acknowledge, and perhaps embrace, the Truth or not.
For the Truth is, God created Man, and Man abandoned God almost immediately (Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3). Even on the day that Man rejected God’s command, God began the work of mending the relationship. He promised Adam and Eve that he would bring one who would “bruise” the head of the serpent (Satan).
The Truth is, God raised up an entire nation of people to honor Him, worship Him, and proclaim Him to the world. God took them to Egypt to grow into a large nation and after they were placed into bondage He save them from the Egyptian Pharoh and took them to the Promised Land. And that nation rejected God time and time again, even though God dwelt among the people of Israel, they worshiped other gods and did as they pleased. And as God’s heart was broken each time, God still took the initiative to mend the relationship he had build with Israel (you can find this throughout the Old Testament, although the book of Judges provides a good view of this cycle during the years after Israel took possession of the Promised Land).
The Truth is, God finally, after the nation of Israel had rejected Him enough, allowed other nations to finally take possession of the people of God. For many years the people were separated from the Temple and the land. When they finally returned, God helped them rebuild, but the relationship was not what it used to be.
The Truth is, we, from the beginning, could not help but reject God, whether in ignoring Him, worshiping other gods, or doing things that were wrong.
The Truth is, we are just too selfish to be righteous like God of our own accord.
The Truth is, we just want our own way.
The Truth is, God is Holy (perfectly good) and detests anything that is not holy. His standard is as high as it gets. And the price for not meeting the standard is just as high.
The Truth is, we all deserve to die. To be separated from God forever.
The Truth is, we cannot meet God’s standard on our own. But God has a plan…
The Truth is, God finally put his big plan into motion… the plan to bring real peace to the world (that is, peace between Man and God). A plan to make us holy even though we can’t do it ourselves. A plan to permanently close the cavernous divide between God and Man and bring back the relationship that God intended. A plan to heal everything. A plan that He had from the very beginning.
The Truth is, God Himself would make up for the failings of Man. God Himself would reach out and make the relationship right. God Himself would go so far as to become a Man so that He could walk with us, make Himself known to us, and pay the full price for all mankind’s failings (sin).
The Truth is, Christmas is about the beginning of what God would finally do to make things right with Man, even though it’s all our fault.
The Truth is, Christmas is about God opening up a closed door and entering into our world, bringing His power into a mortal body, a fragile body, the body of a little baby.
The Truth is, Christmas is about God entering into a new relationship with us. About showing us the right way. About dying for us on a Cross.
The Truth is, even the name of Christmas points to the Cross… it means “Christ’s Mass”, the Mass being the celebration of Christ’s death for us.
The Truth is, the price Jesus paid for us on the Cross is the full expression of His Love for us. Everything else that we can think about and talk about pales against the fact that we have a means to spend eternity with God instead of separated from God.
And God wants that for your life.
Merry Christmas to all of you. May God bless you this day and show you more clearly the Truth of His Love for you!