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Wake-up Call to the MAGAchurch, or a Club to Beat Us into Submission?

Stan Moody:


The other day, I had a rather unsettling exchange with a treasured friend and former political constituent of mine who, though on the opposite side of the political spectrum from me, graciously displayed a sign at his home for my re-election in 2005. His standard for political leadership in 2024 is the Nov. 5, 2020 price of gasoline at $2.11 and interest rates on mortgage loans at 2.9%. COVID having been an inadvertent “act of God”, God takes the hit for the 6.75% unemployment rate, during which far fewer folks bought cars, houses, or gasoline.


All along, I believed that access to the American Dream depended on the price of eggs in China!


Pass the plate or pass the blame?


I was at the time working on a sermon for Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. One of the message points was the role of COVID as a wake-up call to the Confessing Church in America – you know, whether to exercise freedom of assembly and infect the congregation. My view of COVID not enjoying a favorable reception, it seems that everyone believes that COVID has turned life as we knew it upside down. We can’t seem to get back to normal, the national playtime of skirting around the Golden Rule!


From my perspective as a pastor, the Confessing Church needed a wake-up call and got it not when things were going great, but when life had turned upside down, a process of biblical proportion. The question now becomes, “What are we going to do with this wake-up call?” The answer coming from within the Church is not very encouraging – the conviction that we can blame other people over the price of gasoline, demand our civil rights, deny those same rights to others unlike us, and yet continue to brand ourselves as God’s elect children.


A new generation of pastors and theologians!


There is good news leaking out through cyberspace! This wake-up call has given rise to a whole new generation of pastors and theologians stepping up, while the old guard of pop-pastoral CEOs seems to be scrambling to hang on to their constituencies. Small congregations are finding their voices. On point, a wonderful, bestselling book was just published that could not have happened without COVID and MAGA – “The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory”: American Evangelicalism in an Age of Extremism”[1] by Tim Alberta. I’ll share something from the last chapter of that book[2]:


Witnessing to the world is not enough. Converting unbelievers is not enough. Christians are called to help God’s family grow both quantitatively and qualitatively. This is the enduring purpose of the Church: to mold fallen mortals into citizens of a kingdom they have inherited through the saving power of Jesus Christ to the everlasting glory of God, so that they might go and make disciples of their own…The modern evangelical movement has assumed that Christians ought to talk a certain way, keep certain company, and observe certain boundaries if they are to properly witness for Christ. But the New Testament model demands just the opposite…We don’t win at holiness!


A force for calm and a voice for change?


Whether or not that may have anything to do with political leadership or the price of eggs in China, I can’t say! With your kind permission, however, I can say that as people of God, we don’t need to go nuts along with those around us for whom the only security is what they can build here for themselves on the long journey to the great unknown. We can be a force for calm and a voice for change, one person at a time. Might that anomaly be witness enough?


So, I leave you with this thought: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (gasoline, eggs, jobs, cars, and mortgages?) will (or may?) be added to you” (Matt 6:33).

 

 

 

 


[2] Ibid, pp 432, 442, 443.

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