How Now Shall We Then Live?
Like many of you, I was following closely as the results came in last night. The “respected” pundits who predicted a landslide win for Romney are now being predicted upon as to the relevance of their predictions. Obama’s “vengeance voting” strategy won. And quite a revenge was had. Democrats won Senate majority. The disastrous first-term presidency of Obama gets another four years to duplicate itself.
There were also some great victories for conservatism and moral libertarians last night. Tea Party, Ted Cruz, won his Senate race. The hero, Roy Moore, re-gained his post as Alabama Chief Justice. Several other candidates backed by Ron Paul also won.
But overall, it was a bad night for Republicans. That was easily exemplified by the cable news’ reactions. While MSNBC enjoyed her political drunkenness, Fox News was fighting itself.
The age of moderate, center, and ever-changing Republicanism is over. The GOP has thrown money at not only flawed candidates, but flawed ideas. Of course, if history teaches us anything it is that the GOP will not learn her lesson. And so the blame-game will commence. “We did nothing wrong. We simply lacked the the right strategy,” they will say.
The reaction will be two-fold to last night’s debacle: First, commentators will speculate that Todd Akin was partly responsible for the GOP’s defeat. They will then argue that the pro-life issue is a losing issue and a sure way to lose the independent and moderate vote. They will then become more focused on economic issues and leave the pro-life movement to die. We need to appeal to the middle. “Tea-Party candidates are insanely unpredictable, therefore they should leave and find a home elsewhere.”
The second reaction is a more hopeful one. After recovering from the defeat, there will be a vast number of Republican leaders who will realize that political compromise did not energize the base. In fact, compromise and constant change are not good ideals. They leave voters confused and often disillusioned by the process. As a result, the Republicans will listen to the more Conservative voices and attempt to form a more coherent system echoing the great conservative voices of the past.
The second reaction is a bit too hopeful, and I acknowledge that such reaction will take time.
In the meanwhile, Francis Schaeffer’s piercing question stares us with vicious pertinence: How Now Shall We Then Live?
How should Moral Libertarians and Classic Conservatives react to last night’s results? The answer lies in localist dominion. We need to concentrate our attention on those issues that are nearest to us. Our cities need to re-gain their importance in our thinking.
Have you sought to bless your city lately? Proverbs 11 says that the upright needs to bless the city, and when he does so the city is exalted (see also Jeremiah 29). Localism is not merely a political philosophy, it is very much a part of the biblical dogma. We are to be concerned about our streets and counties before we are concerned about our nation and the rest of the world. The nationalist is not truly patriotic until he becomes a localist.
With this in mind, here are ten suggestions for becoming a better localist:
A) Pray for your city. Pray for the peace of your city. For justice to be known among her people. Pray for her shalom and its well-being as you drive through it daily.
B) Give to the city by being a part of its affairs. Participate in local activities when possible.
C) Read about the city. Instead of turning to CNN, turn to your local news or newspaper. Be informed about the matters of your city, for the sake of better praying for her.
D) Biblicize your city. Start Bible studies. Equip others to love the city by discipling her. After all, this is the call of the Great Commission.
E) Vote and Elect godly leaders of the city. Before considering national politics, do not forsake your responsibility before your fellow city-dwellers. Seek to be informed about local politics. Comment on local on-line news about those decisions made by politicians that are blatantly against biblical principles and priorities, and always offer alternatives. We need practical solutions, not more theorizing.
F) Unite with other churches. Despise the divisive sentiment that is so prevalent. Know the local pastor’s names and meet with them. Pray for them when possible. Build relationships with others from other traditions who also seek the good of the city.
G) Imprecate against those who do not seek the well-being of the city. The psalms provide a perfect platform for such prayers. There is no neutrality. You either seek the good of the city through the blessings of the Trinitarian God, or you despise it.
H) Minister to the City through giving. Contribute to local charities either through the Church tithe or through personal gifts.
I) Teach others about your city. When I visited the Pacific Northwest once I was surprised how little and misinformed people were about Florida, and in particular the Panhandle. Inform people about the good, the bad, and the ugly while emphasizing the good a lot more.
I) Love the city by loving the Church. Congregate. Worship. Adore the Only-True God by worshipping the One who is King of the City, Jesus Christ.