Things I Think…
1. The area I live in is currently under a “Red Flag Warning”. This means the combination of extreme heat, wind, and low humidity will combine to create conditions under which catastrophic fires can easily start.
We were under such conditions two years ago when my town burned and today and tomorrow will be days when attention must and will be paid to my surroundings. I have to be ready to flee…last time I wasn’t…because I didn’t believe that such a thing could ever happen here.
I would suggest that we are at a historical junction in this country where another type of conflagration is possible… I see spot fires everywhere.
The disgruntled and disaffected now take up arms to themselves and shoot up grocery stores, schools, and fairs when their minds and souls can no longer contain all the rage they have consumed.
Families and churches are split because of political beliefs and those splits are often imbued with continuing hostility.
We are losing our communities and our minds.
It’s obvious that we are dying of anger, and we foolishly believe a more intense rage will douse the flames.
The truth is that we will all suffer loss through the flames we light and those we choose to feed.
2. The heat is understandable. We have passed through years where our lives and economy were turned upside down by a virus and none of us are sure that all was done well and honestly. We are unsure of the motives behind many of the actions and no longer trust anyone…yet believe that among the untrustworthy a champion awaits to set things right. This is utterly delusional thinking, but I guess like many delusions, it brings a measure of comfort to some…
3. The heat alone won’t start a devastating fire…it takes wind to push the fire beyond it origins and grow unstoppable. The winds are produced by media that care not what burns as long as people consume their product and by pulpits that baptize the rage as holy unto God…both will be judged, but the church will be judged more strictly…
4. I could fill this page with biblical admonitions against continual anger, but we have deluded ourselves into believing that in this case, in this country, we know better than God how to bring the kingdom we desire…what we will end up with is a kingdom of ash…
5. One of the things most worrisome under a Red Flag Warning is knowing that there are people who look forward to times like these because they love to watch things burn…they set fires without a care to the consequences…let the reader understand…
6. When the fires start rumors and falsehoods abound about who started the blaze and where it’s headed…truth is difficult to discern. In these times we have to dedicate ourselves to that which we know is true, the word of God… which calls us to be fire extinguishers, not “holy” arsonists…
7. The fire that took my town, took my community. The places where we gathered, the places we held in common, burned up in a matter of hours. People left without homes moved away and took their gifts with them. The people who were left were faced with an unfamiliar landscape that will always be empty of what was and will be scarred for generations. We are already burning up our communities, (online and off) and without community the ties that bind disintegrate and create little tribes without any connection to something greater…or connections to something that appears greater, but is carrying matches…
8. One of the reasons our area burned down was that as the fire started to take the town, we ran out of water. Something malfunctioned in the system and the hoses were empty of that which was desperately needed. We are in desperate need today of the water of the Word and the living water that only Christ can give…too often we’ve chosen to waste it fighting each other instead of what threatens to consume us….
9. We have also chosen to believe that the weapons of our warfare need to be carnal because the carnality and perversion around us is so great. We scoff at calls to sacrificial action and wielding the sword of the Spirit in prayer as too passive…forgetting that the power that saved us and brought forth God’s new creation was only accessed by suffering and death…a death that defeated all the powers and principalities and began the renewal of all things…and is still the only power capable of defeating the darkness…
10. There are few professions as noble as fire fighting. It is undertaken at great risk for the purpose of preservation of life and property. We who name the name of Christ are called to fight the fires of hell…but our tools are prayer and the Gospel and the willingness to suffer and sacrifice for others in love to preserve what has been given.We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, not burning down of a culture. Societally, i can smell smoke and hear the sirens…this is my red flag warning to us all. It can happen here…make your own application…or don’t…
No one could ever say you aren’t a gifted writer, Michael.
Thank you, Josh…I wish I were better…
Stay safe from the fires… of both sorts.
No, the way you draw parallels between real life and spiritual matters is truly amazing.
Josh, thanks again…I hope it’s helpful.
I’m just staying ready…which is exhausting…
Well-said, but I wish you didn’t need to say it. I’ve been holding my breath waiting for the next catastrophe for so long now that I’ve forgotten how to exhale. It’s why I watch my news intake…one look at the headlines in the morning and a revisit in the afternoon (I still take a newspaper) is enough.
We are holding our breath…waiting to exhale.
Looking for safe places and not finding any…
In all honesty, I suspect that the far-right nut-bag fringe element, whether ‘Christian’ or no, is a small minority, and not at all representative of the vast majority of the American People.
What’s sad though, and scary too, is when will the next gun-tragedy happen?
Like you, I live in your community holding our collective breath–both due to the smoke and to the fearful anticipation of a foolish act or existing fires bursting into full conflagrations. It is exhausting. I’m a very distracted teacher right now–trying to act normal, regularly checking various media to see if normal is warranted. That is just due to the concrete topic of which you write; the abstract one is every bit as real.
I keep refreshing all the alert sites…rain cannot come soon enough…
I don’t know why but I feel the need to say that I am a Christian (though struggling at times) but I am not a Trump Christian. I would probably be labeled conservative in my values but am a registered independent. I am open to dialogue and the ideas of those whose ideology is different than mine.
There! I said it!
I almost lost a friendship when I told my longest-living friend that I was not a Trump Christian. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve actually abandoned the Republican party and changed my registration over the summer. I think there are other Christians like us, too, but we either have to be willing to take the heat from the other side, or forever remain closeted with our “heretical” beliefs. I think my closet door is ajar.
I say God bless all those like Officer Hoppy who are open to
dialogue and those with different ideas. May that tribe continue
#1- we also are under a red flag warning, but we watch pickup after pickup hauling off road bikes and carts going up into the hills
Say what? Don’t they care? Guess not
Nations collapse from war, from corruption, from disunity, from financial failure, from invasion, from all the maladies of the human heart. This one has already embraced all those things. Pray for the kingdom and prepare because when we pray that way nations fall. Babylon has fallen.
Our real question is how shall we conduct ourselves as this one falls. There will be pockets of life because as nations fall new ones are born from the rubble.
We might want to ask how we shall live. This one is definitely not ascending just now. It may revive but only to fall again. For here we have NO lasting city.
So far ALL of our expressions of the kingdom have proven corruptible and fallen and yet of his increase and government there shall be no end. If only we could discern it.
I am trying with all my might to continue to be a firefighter and I am continuing to fight some very big fires alone. I see the red flag warning but I do not have the crew I used to. The Lord took my Fire Chief home and I feel so grief stricken so much of the time and so alone. I love this post, it reverberates in my soul, I feel the Spirit all over it. I know this word is dead on accurate. Continue to use your gifts my friend!
It’s so good to see you here. Praying that our Lord meets you in your grief.
Officer Hoppy and Linn,
I’m right there with ya.
Hello Mary Ellen
Good to see you in this space. Your Fire Chief is sore missed.
Blessing to you.
Thanks to Captain Kevin and Dread, the Chief loved the days when he had the time to be on this site and converse with all of you. You guys knew the real him. Don’t quite know why he’s home but the Lord does. Thanks in advance for your prayers, I need them.
Thank you for the kind words, Mary Ellen.
We all miss your Chief…too much left undone.
Yeah. I’ve had a similar experience. I have some friends who think I have lost my salvation because I am not a Trump Christian. They are completely obsessed with him and the “stolen” election.
No amount of reason or truth will convince them otherwise
My friend and I talk every now and then, but not like we used to. She is truly disappointed in me and thinks I have gone over to the dark side.
What has been a pleasant island of sanity is that the leadership of my church asked us to stop discussing politics (the particulars) specifically at church. We talk about principals, but not personalities. It has made a huge difference in the atmosphere and allowed ministry to continue without disruption. We are not known for any particular “brand” of politics, although being a Bible-preaching evangelical church it’s easy to come to the conclusion most people are conservative. But, there are a lot of hybrids like me and I appreciate the peace and quiet. Lots of conversations take place away from church, but they don’t drive the engine of the congregation. And, like you, I am always up for a good conversation!
Thanks for your encouragement, Mary Ellen. I think more than a few of us are walking through the fires these days.
The Chief was such an encouragement to many here. He was to me. It took courage for him to participate, and I’m sure he got pushback from the boy’s club……..
Thanks, my friend…
Mike, that was as fine a modern parable as I’ve seen anywhere, and quite timely, too. Thank you.
Thank you for the kind words…I’m glad people are finding it helpful…
I really good article about Christian nationalism and how it was displayed on Jan 6, 2021. The scariest sentences in the article:
But “extremism” can also be understood as a more intense or committed version of what is otherwise ordinary. As scholars of the cultural politics of religion, we suggest this ordinariness is actually more alarming than its extreme expressions, because it’s harder to notice.
It’s about a 5-minute read, and well-worth the time.
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