It is easy to get irritated when religious leaders follow instead of lead on the issues of our day.
Christians are called to follow the Truth even if nobody else wants to go there.
As lovers of Wisdom, we are called to follow the Logos where ever He leads us. No picking a politically correct cause just because it is the cause of the moment. No twisting Scripture from the meaning obvious to anyone who read it for centuries just because it fits our prejudices of the present.
There is a boldness that should come with the a commitment to Christ. When the Green Patriarch (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew) goes to a university ridden with the problems of our age and only tells them the parts of the Christian faith with which they are likely to agree, we are troubled by it. We hope he did not wimp out to curry political favor for causes where he is desperate for Western support, but we long for the clarity or boldness of a John Paul the Great in Poland.
We cannot judge for certain, but the Biblical prophetic witness sounds more like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s address to Harvard. There a brave man spoke truth to power . . . not in our modern trivialization of the phrase where it means taking on figures that are unpopular in our own social set. Solzhenitsyn did not take on oil companies to Green Peace or abortionists at Liberty University. He attacked those he admired in other ways or whose admiration he might have valued.
A conservative like I am is not brave when he takes on Limbaugh, because in academic circles, where the people whose favor I crave live, he is so unpopular. Instead a man who works with the conservative rank and file and loves them is brave to take on Limbaugh when he is wrong.
There is then the temptation, always, to lack courage and to boldly go only where every man we admire has already gone before.
But the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall reminds me of an even more subtle temptation to follow the truth for bad motives. As a life long anticommunist there was, God help me, one bit of my soul that rejoiced at this great event not because it liberated millions, but because it proved I had been right all along.
I voted for Reagan when nobody else at grad school would do so. I spoke out against Soviet tyranny.
I. I. I.
Going to school that day, I met a friend who said to my comment on the Fall something like this, “Yes, we all were always anti-Soviet, but you anticommunists, with your rhetoric and right wing politics, forced us to sound like anti-anticommunists. Unfortunate really.”
My initial irritation was very great.
Of course, there was probably much that was self-serving in this comment. If anti-anticommunists were actually anticommunist (or anti-Soviet) it was very hard to discern. My reaction to the remark, however, made me realize something gross about myself. I partly followed the Truth, because I wanted other smart people to see that I was right.
I wanted, at least in part, as C.S. Lewis might say, to be in the Inner Ring of Those Clever Enough to Hate Stalin. This is wretched.
The Beloved stood before me and I followed, but one tiny part of me did so hoping other people would see me following. Even writing this post, there is no end to this sin, carries with it the temptation to think of how people will react to it . . . the right people.
And yet ass and sinner that I am I can only offer myself up to the Beloved and follow, mixed motives and all.
We pursue the truth together and try to see. We know that if Darwinism is finally rejected that the Academy is likely to say to us: “We always knew there were problems, but you creationists made us sound like Darwin was our prophet in reaction.”
And we know it will irritate our carnal natures not content that Truth has triumphed, but longing for a prize, an endowed chair, or at least a “You told me so” from people we admire.
It will not come and we will have to be “content” with a “well done thou God and faithful servant” only from the Divine Logos Himself.
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.