Posted by: sailingspirit | April 11, 2011

Free to what?

Well I’ve been spending many hours watching Link TV, most of which has been dominated by the Egyptians’ demand for democratically-elected, citizen-led governance.  I came away with a few summary impressions as well as some key questions:

  • I am greatly impressed by and proud of the well-researched, -organized, and -unified action of the young citizens there.
  • I am even more proud of the way all the citizens who joined them stuck to a peaceful demonstration, altruistically respecting, protecting, and caring for each other as equally deserving citizens.
  • I am further inspired and undone by the way they honored God above all, periodically stopping their intercessions for earthly representation and government to pray to the One they know is truly in charge of it all, anyway.  Not only were they willing to risk their lives to do this, but the police respected this choice as a “time out” for everyone.  How often does this happen here, and lately, how well is it respected?

As much talk flurries about the airwaves, in particular which population was inspired by whom and the implications of such inspirational energy against rulership regionally, what I find myself drawing back to repeatedly is the question of what democracies would/could offer in way of guidance to Egypt now.  Specifically, the way in which this question is birthed automatically tainted by the correlation of western democracy and largely absent moral behaviors politically, publicly, and privately.

What I find myself wanting to say to Egyptians is a message of encouragement to continue as they’ve begun: seek what is best in light of what you know and believe, all the while in deference to Whom you believe.  Because a study of world history shows that no political system, nor enforced religious system, is the perfect answer.  For both democracy and theocracy are only as good as the people in them!  Corrupt individuals will spoil even the best-intentioned systems.  Who was it…Adams?  Franklin?…that said the American Constitution was unsuitable for governing anything but a moral nation.

What we saw as a unified body of citizens is now imminently expected to fracture; perhaps illustrated best by the pesky western journalists piercing their jubilation with questions of who they want to rule in Mubarak’s place.  Happy for them, yet experientially tarnished by operative democracy; a compassionate desire to protect the innocent in their glee.  Thus we see a live example of our reading, and I think today I would assert that true, widespread, lasting unity is not possible (without the direct and continuous hand of God).  Whether by thoroughly studying life or sacred texts, I would challenge anyone to prove that it is.  Humans are by their very created nature diverse, even down to the order by which our brains process the stimuli coming in.  Thus, even the same religious dictate will not be exemplified by all homogeneously.  We are guaranteed to disagree and faction as certainly as any cell within us will split.

And that’s simply when left to our own devices.  Bring the fact of Satan’s frustrating influence back into the milieu and we cannot be but certain disagreements will ensue.  He thrives on it.

Once again I find myself having to “zoom out” to the larger picture and ask some umbrella questions, such as, “Is God surprised by this?”  In fact, a quick survey of scripture reveals it rather contradictory that all these things should “just be clear” to everyone.  I imagine God answering, “I’m surprised you’re surprised.”  Let’s take this assumption to its logical extreme:  If there was ever a time and place where the truth about God and His will in governance should be obvious to everyone, it would be in the heavenly kingdom, right?  Nevertheless, Lucifer and one-third of the angelic population rose up in defiance and factioned away.  On the heels of these events, would not God, in His infinite knowledge and wisdom, foresee that by creating us with diversity externally and internally, starting with the very first formation of Eve not identical to Adam, putting us on the same planet as Lucifer & Co., and giving us Free Will (either in spite of or because of the uprising in heaven), somehow anticipate this possibility?  Be both able and prepared to handle our disagreements and confusions?

All this could be cleared up by a great, global showing of power and authority on God’s part, and some spiritual/behavioral yoke placed upon us all to conform or die.  *Shazaam!*  (And if He did, would we all not point our fingers and taunt each other like the bratty children we really are?  Neener-neener, I told you so!)  Or, it could have been prevented if God had simply made us mindless automatons.   He has chosen to do neither (to this point, anyway).  If we are to continue to defer to His infinite wisdom, we must believe (through faith! *A-hem!*)  that neither of these options would have been best (for His purposes).  Thus, let us ask what could be best about the way it is.  Has not God expressly told us He wants a personal relationship with each one of us?  Has He not told us to seek Him, to press, to endure?  We could not fulfill His desires unless things were exactly as they are.  We could not choose Him if we had no minds to choose, nor if everything was obvious (negating choice).  And our relationship would be disingenuous if forced.  Furthermore, if confirmation of our choice came from others, it would never take true root.  We can only know we know we know, when He works something within us, making our relationship so personal even language cannot adequately describe it.

I believe God purposely allows these debates to give us pathways for searching, and opportunities to apply faith.  The Bible says in multiple places that there are things we need not concern ourselves about, or that it is not for us to know.  In other words, God says, “I’ll handle it.  You just go back to what you were doing.”  There is precedent for God not revealing every little detail, even when we ask.  There have been, and therefore likely continue to be, times where too much knowledge would not be helpful for us.  Thus, what it really boils down to, is when will each of us decide it is perfectly acceptable to let God be God, in all His knowingness, and for us to simply be us, knowing what He’s willing to share and beyond that, simply knowing Him?

If each of us would pursue thusly, the question of governance and policing would be diminutive issues.  It was God’s idea to rule personally; it was the Israelites’ idea to request a king.


How has this impacted your thinking on the matter?

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