Category Archives: Crisis

Crisis – the result God designs in

When John Kennedy’s men from PT109 reached an island and temporary safety, they had no assurance of a rescue.  Some men prayed for it.  And some who didn’t resented those who did.  One of the dissenters criticized men who had shown no interest in God suddenly got religion.  Life Sketches, p. 87-88

Yet, by the fourth day of their trial, he had a change of mind, even to asking a Catholic mate to overwork his rosary.  When finally rescued, the same skeptic shared liberally in the brandy the medics gave the men.  When the men shared a sing-in with Mission natives, hearing them belt out, “Jesus loves me, this I know….” the old dissenter/skeptic/critic joined them….”Yes, Jesus loves me…the Bible tells me so.”  Ibid., p. 92-93

Some people consider God important even when life is good, no problems loom, and prosperity and safety seem assured.  They understand that all we esteem can vanish in an instant.  Others won’t consider God until all they esteem is threatened by extinction.  Some not even then.  They decide to tough-it-out, their invincible nature enough for them.

We must decide. If we won’t come to God when we’re well, and we won’t seek him when we’re sick, or in trouble, or in a life-and-death crisis, when will we seek God?  Let us bless any changed circumstance that exposes our vulnerability to decay and simultaneously our awareness of God.  No adversity is a waste if it brings us to God.  No benefit is a gain if it keeps us independent of God in Christ.

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Crisis – different responses from pulpits

While many Northern pulpits remained silent on the slavery issue in the 1850’s—and Southern pulpits spoke only in defense of the institution—the Fugitive-Slave Law of 1850 roused protest from many Northern preachers.  Then, in 1854, with the passage of the dreaded Kansas-Nebraska bill, outrage erupted in Northern pulpits.

Conservative editors and politicians—meaning those favorable to slavery, or unwilling to pursue force in eliminating the penitentiary culture—continued to deplore any criticism of slavery in American pulpits.  Henry Ward Beecher, however, championed the outspoken pulpiteers and emboldened the timid by saying that “any topic introduced into the pulpit became thereby consecrated.”  (Impressible Conflict), pp. 260-261)

That may not be true, as shown in the preaching in many black churches today.  Black preachers have honed their pulpits into defiant cries against what they consider unfair treatment by whites and other minorities—particularly Asian immigrants, who have shown a remarkable willingness to EARN their way into American culture.

The cry in such churches today is:  “Don’t judge black men on the streets”; “I can’t breath”; “My hands are up.”  Pro athletes join the chorus, wearing the same messages on their jerseys.  It’s hilarious:  black millionaire athletes have so little in common with working-class blacks, let alone welfare-class blacks.  But it’s a “feel-good” way to show support, since it costs nothing beyond a slogan.  Not many successful black athletes have taken the time and spent the money Magic Johnson has in renewing the economies of their communities.  It’s always easier to let someone else do it, particularly an Uncle Sam represented by politicians who freely trade money for votes.  Black churches today are often little more than adjuncts of the U.S. Welfare Department instead of being submissive to the Holy Spirit by evangelizing their communities.  Little wonder Islam has enjoyed success among American blacks.  God won’t use a church evangelistically that has become a religio-politico organization.

Those black churches also regularly welcome white liberal politicians into their pulpits.  Question:  when have any politicians, let alone liberal politicians, had any message appropriate to pulpits supposedly committed to Jesus Christ’s Gospel?  Of course, those politicians assure the blacks of their continued financial support if kept in office.  But when has it been necessary for independent-thinking people to rely on government handouts?

A point of fact missed in all the protest marches today.  A few exceptions exist to this rule, which only proves the rule:  cops do not chase anyone unless he runs away; they do not use physical force to subdue anyone unless he fights handcuffs and arrest.  And in any physical confrontation, cops are armed to harm or kill violent people; which should force compliance, not more violence, in the one arrested.  And, while cops do not purposefully target anyone on the streets, they now that thugs, drug dealers, prostitutes and other lawbreakers use the streets to ply their trade; which is why most confrontations occur in public, in the raw, not in sanitized interview rooms or courtrooms.

A big change has occurred in America.  In the 1850’s white pulpits railed against slavery.  In 2014’s black pulpits rail against inadequate monies coming from the United States’ Treasury into their churches and supposedly into their communities.  It doesn’t take a genius to know that 1850 pulpits, from a high moral position, attacked a real wrong; while 2014 attacks, from self-centered motives, merely a perceived wrong.

 

Discipleship – enduring needs mental conviction; Crisis – rousing strength one didn’t ordinarily have; Fear – empowering action

In the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October, 1862, wounded men were being evacuated while battle raged and artillery shells burst around the ambulance corps in the rear.  (Rebel artillery and infantrymen often overshot their targets, doing more damage behind the lines than to font-line troops.  Perryville was but one, and Gettysburg a notorious, example.  While infantry ducked behind the stone wall at the Angle, Meade’s headquarters suffered considerable blasting by rebel artillery.)

At Perryville four men carried a stretcher on which a grievously moaning, wounded, crying trooper writhed in pain.  While in transport, a rebel “shell burst close by”.  The carriers scattered leaving the wounded exposed to more harm.  But not for long.  When he found himself deserted, he raised to an elbow, still moaning, looked around and, instantly forgetting his pain, jumped to his feet, ran after, and soon passed, his carriers.  Behind the Guns, 39

 

The Perryville experience echoed that of the Indiana captain in the December, 1862, battle of Stones River.  So disabled by rheumatism he had to be helped when mounting his horse, he plodded slowly to the front.  Yet, when bullets flew, and young Federal soldiers led the retreat, who but that same captain would bolt from his horse and start running, soon catching and as instantly passing the younger men.  This Hallowed Ground, Bruce Catton, 193

In a crisis, children have been known to lift a car off a wounded parent.  Soldiers have found the strength to lift deadly ordnance on ships and carry it overboard; or man a machine gun torn loose from its moorings in a plane.  In death-threatened experiences, hardened sailors have sworn faith and made explicit vows to God Jonah 1:16.

But do not count on crises to empower persevering discipleship.  While they rouse power from emotion, from the release of adrenalin, when the crisis passes and emotion subsides, the person usually returns to his accustomed life.  Persevering discipleship comes from a mental decision to commit to Jesus Christ as LORD, GOD ALMIGHTY…whatever.  Only that resolve will keep one faithful to him when life, circumstances and troubles call one to quit.