Monday, January 23, 2017
Stepping Off Life's Treadmills
Treadmills. For as well as they can bear us up and move us along they can certainly be hard to spot in our everyday lives.
My big "for instance" here is public education. Most parents think nothing about sending their children to their local public school. We didn't. We even moved to a neighborhood with a 'better' public school for our babies to attend when they got old enough. In fact, it never occurred to either David or I there might be another option until our oldest son, suffering at the hands of classroom bullies - including his teacher - begged me to pull him out and school him at home.
Sadly, it had also never occurred to me that schooling my kids myself was a directive of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.") and to be obedient, that must be my path.
I remember how hard it was to swim against the tide of public opinion when neither the kids' friends nor mine engaged in the practice. For a whole year as Coleman and I navigated the unknown waters of homeschooling, I felt nearly completely unmoored from my previous life, but we continued resolutely because it had become a calling rather than simply a reaction to external circumstances.
The "Education Treadmill" isn't the only one I've stepped off, however, and in fact, I liken the experience of exiting the first one to the 'scales' falling from Saul's eyes in Acts 9. See also 3:14-15 where Paul admonishes the Philippians to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" and tells them that God will reveal to them those things that don't match up to that goal. Once we identify components of our 'earthly' life that lead us away from a life in Christ, apparently, He will enlighten us to the knowledge of others if we make ourselves available to that prompting.
Oddly, the first treadmill I stepped off was the "Voting Without Thinking Treadmill" in 2008; no more slobbering, slick TV ads - no more buying spewed soundbites from candidates - I wasn't voting for another thing until I had researched every angle (Proverbs 29:12).
Somewhere around 2011 (after the "Education Treadmill") , I began an exit strategy from the "Processed Food Treadmill" - a journey now more of an odyssey toward the growing and raising of our own produce and livestock.
Near 2013, I noticed I'd been riding the "BigPharma/BigMedicine Treadmill" when I began to understand drugs make good money for the corporations which create them and many are meant to subsidize a learned lack of responsibility for our own health and bodies (see Romans 12:1 for the Biblical perspective on the latter two Treadmills).
This year I've gotten off the government "Two Party Treadmill" (also called the "False Dichotomy Treadmill"). No longer will I allow myself to be funneled into options for my leaders that make it hard for me to follow my Biblical convictions.
Lately I've been studying the "Corporate Church" and "Nationalization" Treadmills and I've learned something interesting. We Christians can hold onto our perceptions about matters of the earthly realm with such persistence as to prevent ourselves from examining how well they correspond with our faith in Jesus Christ and Biblical truths.
Some issues are such 'sacred cows' they can be likened to the "Too Big To Fail" myth on the back of which so many in government today have perpetrated financial wrongs upon American citizens (insert debt clock here).
Recently, I wrote about my concerns regarding the Pledge of Allegiance. Not even my husband agreed with my stance - that the Pledge is a form of nationalism of the kind over which we need to exercise caution. He pointed out that to those of us saddened and disgusted by the blatant America hating expressed by so many today from our POTUS on down, the 'jingoism' expressed in the Pledge is actually welcomed and lauded. I completely understand this, but it's a reactionary position, not one in active opposition.
This country has the greatest Constitution of any other in the World and contains ideals so lofty, America has been described by great citizens such as Ronald Reagan as that "shining city on a hill" after Matthew 5:14. In all of human history, there has never been a country offer its citizens more physical, intellectual and religious freedom than ours. America, however, is only as good as those who lead it and those who lead it only as good as those who elect them. Once the Bible was removed from public education in 1963, the Biblical truths upon which this nation was founded began to fall away exponentially, because without its foundation, all else is sinking sand (Matthew 24-26).
Is it not possible then that, in the absence of truth, the corruption rising to fill that vacuum could turn things at once familiar to so many of us - such as the Pledge of Allegiance - against us? I believe it is possible and I also believe we Christians must be open to that possibility and continually ask God to reveal those things that don't match up to the goal of the calling expressed by Paul in Philippians 3:14-15.
Yes, until don't, we live in the greatest country in the world, however, our government will always rest upon the shoulders of the Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Only He holds the keys of justice and judgement toward its establishment. Until we are ruled by His hand, we must see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and understand with our heart those things present before us (Isaiah 6:10).