Friday, March 9, 2018

"We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us" -- Walt Kelly

I was just recently contacted by the marketing team at Concordia Publishing House regarding my upcoming book Faith That Sees Through The Culture (June 13th release date). They gave me a look at the preliminary cover for the book. It is exciting to see it all coming together. It is a book about biblical dualities and the idea is that when one becomes more aware of the real both-and's in life that one is able to more effectively live in faith, especially as we seek to navigate the culture. We need the view of the lenses that show both old and new versions of man; of ourselves who are in Christ, because both are there. The hubris, angst and acrimony of our time is stifling. And if we allow it, it puts us in a foul way in which complaint and criticism become the emanation of our souls. This is not to say we should never complain. Certainly if one reads the Psalms, we know that there is a time and a place, especially when we can give our soul's complaint to the LORD and who can overestimate the value of confession? Indeed, it is more than cathartic. It is healing when we receive the LORD's gracious response in Christ, namely His saving absolution. I am, however, not talking about that. I am referring to when the complaining and criticism become our constant speech and vibe. When this happens joy is lost, but more than that, we actually end-up contributing to the ills of a sin-parched world. Walt Kelly produced the comic strip Pogo and to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970 he presented his famous line: "We have met the enemy and he is us." He applied it to our treatment of the planet, but the concept goes far beyond that. In Romans 5 St. Paul wrote that God's love for us in Christ was and is so great that "while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son (v 10)," and while our old man, the sinful flesh still cleaves to us, we are to crucify this enemy status every day. It is a state that not only hates God, but it hates other people and its complaint and criticism -- though it rationalizes constructive aims -- is often just a contribution to the problem. In the original movie Ghostbusters (1984) they depict the idea of an accumulation of evil. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:9: "there is nothing new under the sun." Were any of the writers for the movie aware of Genesis 6 which describes increasing corruption on earth? Verse 5: "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." And Jesus said, "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth (Lk 18:8)?" Ever since sin entered the world, the world spreads its depression and violence; and this state puts us on the defensive. When we get this way we begin to succumb to fear and then what comes out of our mouth as well as what we do and do not do begins to counter love. Then, "we have met the enemy and he is us." Let us, however, in Christ go the other way. Ephesians 4:25-32: "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Soli Deo Gloria!

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