Monday, November 23, 2009

Wake Up, America

This week: Palin. Palin. Palin. And it just got worse. The former GOP vice presidential candidate took a two-and-a-half-hour timeout from her book tour to visit the legendary evangelist Billy Graham in Charlotte. Billy’s son, Franklin, who was there for the meeting summarized:

He's followed her career and likes her strong stand on faith. Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up.

What? We can only wonder what God was waking America up from and how exactly God was doing that through Palin.

In addition, Palin apparently asked Graham about what the Bible says about Israel, Iraq and Iran.

We would have loved to listen in as Graham answered this question. Reading the book of Revelation and other portions of Scripture as an end-times GPS system is an extremely dangerous prescription for contemporary foreign policy issues. Political leaders, like those from the Bush Administration, who imagine the USA as the ‘new Israel’ and then listen to the apocalyptic voice of God as the American government imperialistically positions its troops all over the Middle East should be shunned by anyone and everyone who has seriously studied the Bible.

On the other hand, American foreign policy initiatives, scripted through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5-7], would actually reverse the militarism that has plagued American history. If our Christian Presidents really loved our enemies and shared our abundant resources and were committed to doing unto others as we would have done unto us, then we wouldn’t be in this ‘war on terror’ in the first place. ‘Knowing God’s will’ has everything to do with how we treat other nations and their citizens, not mystically following dispensationalist, Left Behind series, let’s-bring-on-the-rapture diplomacy. The Apostle Paul, in the 12th chapter of his letter to the Jew+Gentile community in Rome, made it clear that they would be able to discern God’s will, not as they were ‘conformed to this world,’ but instead as they were ‘transformed by the renewing of [their] minds.’ Just a few verses later, he spells out what can only be construed as what it looks like for American Christians, let alone all of humanity, to live out God’s will:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So my question lingers: how exactly is God using Sarah Palin to wake America up to this vision?

--Theological Autopilot

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