“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Who is your enemy? Now maybe you’re saintly enough that your response to that question is some version of, “I don’t have any enemies.” Granting that, who comes closest to that status for you? If you’re at all like a growing segment of our society, the answer just may be the people on the other side of the political aisle. In our hyper-partisan times, political rivals are among the most bitter enemies we have. The latest entry from Marvel Studios offers an important counterpoint to this decidedly unhealthy trend. Let’s talk today about Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
What do we do when we are facing leaders we don’t want to follow issuing orders we don’t want to keep? The response by most people throughout history has been either passive acceptance or else violent rebellion. As followers of Jesus, though, there is another option. As we continue our series, Being Good Kingdom Citizens, this week, thinking together about how we need to respond to the current political climate as followers of Jesus, we are going to join the apostle Paul as he lays out what this third way is. Thanks for being a part of the conversation.
Getting in Line
Have you ever been faced with a rule you didn’t want to follow? I suspect so. I remember when I was a sophomore in high school, and we took the standardized science tests for the state at the end of the year. I remember thinking the whole test was a joke in terms of covering ideas and topics we hadn’t touched on at all in the previous nine months, but the question that took the cake for me was this: Draw a picture of the universe and mark the approximate location of the earth. By this time, I was beyond frustrated with the content. We had never even come close to talking about the shape of the universe. I was a science geek and didn’t know the shape of the universe. Modern astrophysicists only have guesses about it (incredibly educated guess, yes, but guesses all the same). The rule was, though, that you had to answer all the questions. So, I sat there and for five continuous minutes put dots all over the page with my pencil, added a random X, and then moved on to the next question. I’ll confess that it was not one of my finer moments in academia.
As we continue in our journey through the book of Judges, things are getting ugly. God keeps raising up leaders to help the people when they are in trouble, but the stock of people from which He can draw is getting pretty poor. As a result, rather than leading the people, these men are merely reflecting them. There’s a lesson here for us: Our leaders are ultimately going to look like us. What kind of leaders are we meaningfully going to be able to produce? Let’s talk about it.
The Leaders We Deserve
Have you ever seen a movie in which a great leader calls a people to rise above themselves and do great things? That’s a pretty broad category of mostly good movies if you think about it. There is one, though, that stands atop the rest: Braveheart. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what scene I’m talking about. The Scottish clans are all lined up on the hill waiting to run into battle against their English oppressors. They are hopelessly outnumbered by the British regulars. And then William Wallace rides up and down their ranks and speaks courage and confidence into their very souls. The most famous passage of the speech ended like this: “And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”