I recently picked up a new book by Os Guinness, a favorite author of mine, entitled Impossible People. I became aware of it after reading comments by Eric Mataxas who notes that the title, Impossible People is derived from the characterization of an eleventh century Benedictine reformer named Peter Damian who spoke out against all kinds of church and societal indulgences. His commitment to Christ was so strong that he earned the reputation of an uncompromising faith and undeterrable commitment to Christ.
Guinness’ whole premise is that impossible people are different people from the rest of the culture. Just like Peter Damian they are fully devoted followers of Christ that are living out their faith before a crumbling and windowless world. We are to be those “impossible people” and if we are not, as Mataxas says, we become irrelevant people.
It’s not easy to be these kinds of people, precisely because the civilization we live in is crumbling on its foundations and attempting to replace them with what Guinness calls a “secular Babel.” A broad look at our history and Western civilization reveals that the freedoms and beliefs that solidified our foundation have and are being replaced with consensus, political correctness, cultural contradictions and a rejection of any absolute moral truth.
A perfect example of such cultural contradictions happened just over a week ago when NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced that he would no longer stand during the playing of the national anthem due to what he called ongoing national racial oppression. Interesting, especially coming from him! If he really wants to make a statement, I wonder if he would be willing to give back the $114 million he has made under the “oppressive regime” call America and sell his $2.7 million mansion? I wonder if he would be willing to take his football “skills” to say… Afghanistan or Iran and use them to fight oppression there? Let him see their ideas about football, finance, his opinion and oppression. Or maybe he should just go see where American soldiers (being paid a pittance compared to Kaepernick) have laid down their lives so that he can live in a nation and spend his weekends throwing an oblong shaped piece of leather filled with air and be paid extraordinary sums of money and then scream oppression… sounds like freedom to me! That is not to say that there is never injustice, of course there is, but frankly Colin Kaepernick is the last person who should act as a spokesman for such. He is a living cultural contradiction of the very cause he is “sitting” down for! And he is one more reminder of a crumbling culture that is in steep decline.
In his article A Manifesto For Our Moment, Eric Mataxas reminds us that in the opening scene of the 2001 film adaptation of “The Fellowship of the Ring,” Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel whispers hauntingly, “The world has changed. I can feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost; for none now live who remember it.”
No doubt something has changed! You can feel it everywhere; much that once was is lost and fewer and fewer can remember it. That’s why we must be light in the dark, salt that flavors and impossible people that live out God’s truth against the backdrop of a crumbling culture. We were made for this, let us be faithful to the task, filled with the power of God’s Holy Spirit and exuding the joy of the Lord in a parched and weary land.
And as always, remember that God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor!!!
For God’s Glory Alone,