Monday, January 19, 2009

Is Obama the antichrist?

Prior to November's election, I received multiple emails arguing for how President-Elect Obama is the anti-Christ. I received copies of "prophecies" that if he were elected we would experience unprecedented terrorist attacks, natural disasters and economic turmoil. I heard Christians express fear about what could happen if he were elected. And, sadly, I heard Christians label him: he's a Muslim, terrorist, baby-killer, "most liberal senator," etc., as a way of making the point that if you vote for him, you too are a baby-killer (you can't make this stuff up-it is too weird). After the election, now "prophetic voices" are saying the same things: we are about to experience unprecedented terrorist attacks, natural disasters and economic turmoil because we violated the will of God by electing Obama as president.

Here are a few brief points for your consideration and, hopefully, encouragement to refocus on and trust in Jesus:

1. We are under a delusion as a nation, but the delusion did not cause us to elect Obama. The delusion is not new or recent, but has held us under its spell for some time. The delusion is that our country is somehow "Israel" in the Bible; as goes our president so goes the Kingdom of God; and an unholy, ungodly and unbelievable intertwining of nationalism and following of Jesus. The delusion causes us to become feverish about a man or against a man. Have we lost our minds? Our King Jesus doesn't need to be re-elected every 4 years-He is firmly on His throne, regardless of the storms and trials that come.

2. The things that are being "prophesied" to happen in the future under Obama have already happened under THIS presidency. If you really believe these things are signs of God's judgment, then you should be repenting for the past two elections, too. This is just connecting the dots: we have experienced unprecedented natural disasters, terrorist attacks and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression under THIS president. Let's be honest and blush when we don't apply the partisan prophecies even-handedly.

3. The fear believers expressed before the election betrayed the real problem. As a church and mission movement in this country, we have expressed little faith in the King of Kings and His coming Kingdom. Like Israel, we wrongly think we need another troubadour-earthly-king to make us feel safe. Like Israel with Saul, we continue to feel anxiety for this misplaced trust in elected princes.

4. The disappointment-bordering-on-despair that I have heard believers express after the election confirms the observation. Somehow, many of us believe that "turn out the anti-abortion vote" is the mission of the church, and that if our guy loses an election somehow the Kingdom of God has faltered. But this is not what is being revealed. What is being revealed is that we have trusted in princes that do not save-and never have. We have confused being a follower of Jesus with a political/economic/social agenda. The quicker we clear our heads of this and look up to the Coming King, and stop looking around for solutions, the better off and more faithful we will be.

5. 1 John 2: 18 says, "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour." The whole point of the deception is to get us to abandon Christ for false messiahs. I don't see Christians-as a whole-making Obama their false-messiah. Do you? But our fear and our despair suggest that we have made someone/something else a false-jesus (John? Sarah? Tax policy? Money in the bank? Equity in our home? 401(k)?. We should examine the log in our own eye as a church, so we can help the nation with the speck in its eye.

Jesus is firmly on the throne, though the waves still batter the boat. Before Him, the sea is as calm as crystal in the picture in the book of Revelation. He is in control, without trembling, full of love and mercy, ready to save all who call upon His name. There is a shaking that is coming, and no political figure will deliver us from it. Only those whose house is built on the Rock will survive the coming storm surge.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We need to burn more books

This time every year some obscure university English department makes their mark by announcing the list of words that should be removed from circulation because they are overused or misused. This year includes "bailout" and "mortgage meltdown" (though, I'm not ready to let either word go, just yet).

As a skeptical scrutinizer of the "christian" subculture in America, I have a few words that I think should be written in a book and then burned in a blaze. I submit these words because I rarely hear them used in a remotely accurate way (that is, used as a way that is grounded in their foundational meaning as used in the Bible).

I just learned that the blog box won't let me make columns, so below is first the WORD//then its MISUSE//then what it USED TO MEAN:

church//building, organization//gathering of friends
worship//religious concert & lecture//a life poured out, as a sacrifice
saved//guilt free pass//salvaged and put back to hard work
truth//proposition, world view//a person--Jesus
christian//religious conservative//one who loves & suffers like Jesus
preach//religious lecture//announce on the street
ministry//professional religious program//serving like a slave
apostle//spiritual superstar//expendable messenger
prophet//dead, lacking diplomacy//listens to God
pastor//religious CEO//smelly sheep tender
love//feeling or mood//sacrificial, tender care acted out