We are overwhelmed daily by information overload from the Internet. Brett McCracken explains,
The speed of information today is simply too fast. Too fast for sufficient vetting, fact-checking, prudence (should I really retweet this?) and commonsense critical thinking. This creates a variety of new problems that erode our collective trust in information: fake news, viral misinformation, conspiracy theories, and too-hasty reporting from otherwise reputable news sources.
The irony of the information age is that the more access we have to an unfathomable amount of information and accumulated knowledge, the less wise we seem to become. One problem with information glut is that it taxes our brains, forcing them into constant triage mode and sapping them of energy (and time) for the deeper, evaluative thinking necessary for wisdom. [ 2020 Proves We Don’t Need More Information. (We Need Something Else.)]
It is a strange sight to see some Malaysian Christians getting at each other in their heated debates about American politics twelve thousand miles away. It seems that we are allowing the world to determine our priorities and to cause divisions among us over issues that are secondary to God’s kingdom’s priorities like worship, doctrine, church life and evangelism. Is it not the case that while everything is politics, nevertheless, politics is not everything? Kevin DeYoung’s counter-intuitive suggestion is worth pondering:
Politics has become the national pastime that brings us all together, only so it can drive us all apart. The task of the church, in this polarized environment, is to slow down, set our minds on things above, and stick to our own script. To be sure, we should not always be silent. But neither should we be the noisiest people in the room, especially when the room tries to tell us what we should be talking about.
Brothers and sisters, it’s OK to have an unarticulated thought. It’s OK to go about our lives in quiet worship and obedience. It’s OK to do your homework, read your Bible, raise your kids, and make your private thoughts prayers instead of posts. Alison Krauss was right: sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all. – [When You Say Nothing at All]
We must not allow political controversies to distract and to divide the Church. After all, salvation comes from God, not from politicians. Let us step back from the cacophony of political disputes so that we may gain discernment as we listen to God in silence. Let us pray for wisdom and courage so that we may act together as citizens of God’s kingdom first, with citizens’ duty in the Malaysian context.
Opening Stanza of T. S. Eliot’s Choruses from the Rock
The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-4)
2 thoughts on “Silence and Discernment in Midst of Political Cacophony”
The old sly fox is again flexing his well worn trick of using a red herring ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring) which we heartily swallow and thereby distracting us into the mirage of our political saviour. Much time and words have been spent on how to dethrone our backdoor government as if this will get us out of the dark tunnel we are in.
In the day of Samuel ( ‘my servant the prophet ‘) the elect also were not spared of the red herring. To his horror Samuel was told to get them a earthly king, a visible majestic king just like the rest of our neighbourly states. ‘Why must we be different , with an invisible King where we can’t show our neighbourly kings when they come for a state visit ?’ To this mirage that the grass is always greener on the outside, Samuel warned them solemnly, ‘Your invisible King takes only 10% of your tax ( and that spent for YOUR welfare ). Your visible king will not only take more than 10% but also your sons and daughters for his welfare first and you last.’ But the elect with overwhelming majority shouted ‘We want a visible king !’
And the history of the state of the elect, Israel and the nations of the world then and to this day is the fulfilment of the solemn warning of the prophet Samuel. So the debate to have as perfect a government with a king who will take not more than 10% of our money goes on and on. But the solution lies not with us but with the Invisible King as many of His servants the prophets predicted aeons before His visit on Earth.
While on earth the Visible but veiled King’s words were :’The good news of the Kingdom of God is near. Enter into it and become my ambassador.’ (This is not a red herring but the truth!). Many of His citizens called ‘disciples’ faced great difficulties with this message with the rulers and government of the day. Their Master counsel :’ I will handle the politics of your king and ruler. As in the days of Jeremiah and Ezra I dealt with the king of Babylon and with king Cyprus in accordance with my plan. Continue to proclaim the Good News and make disciples of
ALL ethic groups. I only have the power and wisdom to handle the opposition from your government. Just believe and obey me.’
And so today is our time and opportunity to prove the faithfulness and integrity of our King and Saviour Jesus Christ . Many have done so and in my recent re-reading of Hudson Taylor in China and George Mueller of Bristol England had greatly encouraged my soul.
So true, so true. The ruling powers on earth and their memory will largely pass away, leaving only a paragraph or two as a footprint of their having ever lived. God the Almighty and All-knowing is in charge – none other, in heaven and earth.
So instead let us fix our eyes on Jesus, we people who belong to Jesus Christ, look for how we can fulfil His daily Will for our lives, and love those who are without hope, lacking Jesus, needy and hurting – both inside and outside the church.
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