Today, I received the millionth e-mail letting me know that if So-and-so gets elected president of the United States dogs will start sleeping with cats, Christianity will crumble, and the end of the world will begin.
All this kind of rhetoric does is make me want to blog about nothing but church history from now until election day. But I’ll resist that urge and instead tell you only one story. It’s about this guy named Nero - you may have heard of him. He was a bit of a jerk, not real fond of Christians, with some anger issues.
Nero did some sick stuff like stick Christians on poles, jab those poles into his lawn and light the bodies on fire so he could have a little light to walk by in the evening. While Nero reigned Christianity didn’t crumble and the world didn’t end.
I understand wanting to vote for someone under whom Christianity would flourish. I get that. Let me think about who that might be for a second. OK, well, because of what history teaches us about the conditions under which Christianity thrives you might want to vote for a guy or girl who will lock up our churches, strip us of our freedoms, imprison us for praying, and is a bit of a psychotic pyromaniac. That’s the kind of guy whose intolerance and brutality helped turn a Jewish cult into a major world religion.
God and His Church have never needed a president’s or Caesar’s support in order to survive. But we’re not the first nation and generation to forget this. Isaiah wrote to the Jews while they were despairing in captivity:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
[God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 44And ... my new favorite recipe is here.