Thursday, April 23, 2009

His Eye is On You...

Because of my deeply held Christian convictions, it is with great pleasure that I am now considered a right-wing extremist. I weep not due to wearing this label. Rather, I consider it a worthy badge of honor and courage in light of the current moral, political, and theological climate in America. I would never want to be one of those poor miserable creatures trapped between the exaltation of humanistic arrogance and the denigration of hopeless disbelief anyway. No, not me, I heartily welcome and praise God for the distinction of wearing this title. Besides, it is how the ruling regime in America considers me so I may as well embrace the empowerment received from it while knowing that God is watching. His eye is on me, can I do any less?

Now, mind you, I have never picketed an abortion clinic, marched in a civil rights rally, or placed a derogatory bumper sticker on my vehicle as a radical statement. I have never made threatening phone calls requiring someone to adhere to my belief system or sent angry letters demanding conversion to my Christian convictions. I believe in the rights of all individuals to hold to their own religious liberty and would never put a sword to the throat of someone who believed differently (that wouldn’t be peaceable now would it?). I have never worked as a community activist seeking to register more people to vote so that my own causes and personal agenda might be furthered. I have never protested our government and called for national reform. I have never written the President of the United States demanding anything – or any government official for that matter. I have never been arrested or imprisoned. I ardently oppose the legalization of drugs as being bad for society. I have never intentionally sought to break any rules that our government has established. I consider myself so straight-laced that whenever I cross the established barrier called the speed limit I feel conviction and ratchet back the RPM’s in my pick-up truck. O, but perhaps that is it, I drive a pick-up truck and have lived in the South all my adult life and I own a Bible. Maybe those are reasons I have been labeled as a right-wing extremist. Add to that the fact that I believe in a republic form of government and denounce socialism, communism, and dictatorships. Add to that the reality that I regularly attend an evangelical church and I seek to daily practice my faith. Add to that the fact that I do not just attend church, but I am a pastor (oh my!) who fervently seeks to guide others to a deeper walk with God (oh my, oh my!). Add to that the preposterous conviction that I preach from the Bible and resolutely believe there to be only one way to eternal life, that being Jesus Christ. Add to that the outrageous idea that I happen to believe the Bible to be the holy, inerrant Word of God. Add to that the ridiculous reality that I refuse to be silenced from preaching regardless of what any administration says or demands – and there you have it – I am a right-wing extremist! And – one more thing – add to all of this my unashamed belief that what America needs now more than anything are increasing numbers of right-wing extremists who believe in God, the Bible, Jesus Christ for salvation, and the power of prayer and now we know for sure – I am a right-wing extremist (or so they say)!

Label me as you please for I am in good company. As I read the Bible – the book that gives left-wingers and middle of the roaders’ great heartburn and unending consternation – I am in good company! The heroes of faith I admire most from God’s Word stood for Him, refusing to waffle or waver in their beliefs. These men stood for something greater than enhancing the local government by simply being a nodding head of assent regardless of the demand to renounce or compromise their faith. Daniel is one such example. This man of God was targeted because he refused to refrain from bowing before his God in prayer. What about those radical extremists Peter and the apostles? They were jailed and reprimanded solely because their beliefs were so precious that they refused the compromise of silence. They held to the deep conviction that Jesus is not a tool to be used for bartering purposes but the singular path to eternal life. Even when being “strictly charged … not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” (Acts 5:28) they refused silence. “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29). Most importantly, Jesus was crucified because He was considered a right-wing extremist by the religious establishment and rulers of His day. He had the audacity to equate Himself with God. Therefore, when all is considered, I am honored to be in the company of these men who stood for God and to kneel before my Savior sent by God as an act of utmost love. I would rather maintain my deepest convictions and bring honor to God with my life than receive a multitude of platitudes from those empowered now but who will be judged later. Therefore, call me a right-wing extremist if you desire. I will continue to label myself a fully devoted follower of Christ regardless of who is watching because I know that His eye is on me.

What about you, are you a right-wing extremist? I hope so.

Remember… Never yield your shield, stay in the battle.

In Christ alone,