John Livingston

Time to Gird Our Loins

The expression “girding up of loins” is referenced in The Bible many times. It originally referred to the tucking up of a long robe into a girdle so it would not hamper physical activity. It was part of “preparing for battle” or physical activity. Today it has become an expression referring to not only preparing for physical confrontation but also as a term used to prepare oneself for any type of confrontation—physical emotional, financial, and even political.. Preparing for “bad news” may require an emotional “girding of loins”.

I have the utmost respect for people who place their good names and their family reputations on the line when they run for office. Political courage is to be respected, even when political philosophies and ideologies are different. The respect for the ideas of others when grounded in an understanding of the courage required to debate those ideas can be the bases of civil discourse. But respecting a person is very different than respecting their ideology, especially when that ideology or political philosophy is not based on Biblical or Natural Law principles, but rather on secular humanistic ideas that fill the “holes in our Hearts” with false god’s. Many people who believe that government is the :final solution” to the problems of society make themselves or the institutions they represent into “false gods” The New Covenant—God’s promise in the New Testament defines a relationship between man and God through Jesus. Any civil, social, or financial transaction for a Christian is an act of “Covenant”—God is a party to the act… “What you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me”. “Do unto others….” The idea of “Covenant” is the bases of Christian Social Justice Theory.

Social Justice is not what social justice advocates and apologists are pitching today—not by a long shot. Aquinas, Burke, and Adam Smith saw society being structured from the individual to the family to the “tribe” to government. The founder of the theological social justice movement in the Catholic Church Fr. Luigi Taparelli differed from the “Thomistic-Enlightenists” believing in a “communal” form of societal organization” based on the church. Knowing that theocracies never work—look at the battle in the Ukraine today that has much to do with the fight between the Russian Orthodox and The Ukrainian Orthodox churches, one can easily see the problems of the theocratic organization of societies. They always require coercion. Individual “free will” is not respected. C. S. Lewis opined in MIRRACLES: “If your religion is your god, then God isn’t your religion” Is that why Jesus threw out the money changers?

The problems that Fr. Luigi identified with governments and that he felt that theocratic systems could guard against are present throughout the world—always have been. What he failed to realize and what the Enlightenment fathers recognized was the fallen nature of man” and the dangers of power concentrated in the hand of the few. Church Fathers and commissars and politicians have all abused power whenever that power has been concentrated in the few. Kings, Popes, Priests, generals, philosophers, and politicians have throughout the ages abused power. That is the nature of power and that is the nature of man. Only individuals exercising the only gift that God has bestowed upon us—Our own FREE WILL, can be the bases for governance—that is the idea of “self-governance”… All the other gifts that God gives us we can only “hold in trust”. This is the bases of stewardship and property rights and “unalienable rights” It is the only means by which power can be used for the “common good” or to fulfill “the social contract. Top-down constructs for running societies end up in fascist, or communal states.

Politics and war are the only means of organizing societies. When politics fail, as they have more times than not failed throughout the 15,000-year history of modern man, they fail because centralized power has been unresponsive to citizens. Wealth has been concentrated in a ruling elite. Laws are not applied uniformly. Elections are not a reflection of the beliefs of the body politic. Citizens become workers and then workers become slaves. Economies become ever more inefficient and standards of living fall. Fewer and fewer people become rulers.

In Idaho we are far removed physically and emotionally from what is happening in the Ukraine and many other places in the world. Pictures, videos, journalists on the scene can create emotions of empathy and sympathy—can we really sympathize with others when we have never experienced ourselves what they are going through? Compassion requires actions. God holds us accountable for those actions and we must hold ourselves accountable. We easily recognize that the people of the Ukraine need our compassion. But do we also recognize that we ourselves need a “reckoning”. We need a “GREAT AWAKENING”. Maybe what is happening in the Ukraine can give us pause to realize that unless we figure out that “bending a knee to government” is worshipping a false god, and now is the time to take control of our lives and the futures of our children, or the future for them will not be pleasant. Time to address the “log in our own eye” before we address the splinter in others.

I don’t have a solution for standing up to the “bully Putin” who in his own delusional state has made himself his own god, and who is holding the threat of a nuclear Armageddon over the head of all the world. I do know there is both an earthly solution and a Devine resolution to the problem. I am encouraged by the story of David and Goliath—Putin is no Goliath and we are no Lilliputians. David chose the battlefield and David chose the means of combat. That story I believe gives us a roadmap of how to deal with an evil adversary who holds a nuclear threat over our heads. No matter what I know this: We all will in time face our own Armageddon’s. The choices and road forward may be tough. If nothing else this requires that everybody needs to refocus on what is important. Has anyone else noticed that nobody in the Ukraine is wearing face masks or social distancing? They are huddled next to each other and comforting each other in air raid shelters and underground train stations. Seems like it is hard to kiss and hold each other when you are social distancing and wearing masks. Did Putin wipe out the CORNA in the Ukraine, or are important things becoming important? It is families—our children, that should be what our primary focus is. Protecting them and teaching them of God’s promise should be what we are focused on. Now. In the Ukraine and in our own country.

Time to “Gird Our Loins”

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