A Windy Season

windy-beachThe winds were high along the Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii, where we took a few weeks to re-create, rest, read, and reflect. We walked the beach and the sweet stretch of smooth sand was blown by the wind, sliding across the shore. Its unfriendly force pushed us, driving us forward, belying the deep beauty of the blue sea with its dancing whitecaps, belying the cerulean sky cleared of volcanic ash that sometimes drifts from the volcano to the south. This land was a stark reminder that nature does not care about us. Nature will go on long after our footprint has been washed away, or perhaps blown away.

The powerful winds remind us that we human beings are different from nature. We do indeed reflect. We create language that allows us to shape our past, present, and future and consider, contemplate, and choose. We stand apart from the natural world, albeit our feet are firmly planted in it. But somehow we are different, not mere animals. And with this difference comes a deep sense of spirit, of soul, of a connection to someone greater than we are, our creator, as though we creatures connect heaven and earth, eternity and time.

Someone once said that eternity is now. What we do matters, what we think and say and write matters, and how and what and whom we love matters. It all counts. Nothing is wasted, as my bishop used to say. Everything, every breath of life, is noted in the Great Heavenly Book of Love and becomes a part of our eternity. We weave our future each day with the threads of our lives, creating a pattern of good or evil, telling a story in which we will live forever. Have we chosen the right design, the right colors, the right threads? And with Christ’s saving grace, we have the chance, the choice, to re-weave our life-tapestry when we appear before Him in that Great Judgment Hall of piercing light. We are not afraid. We have his promise of forgiveness for those darker dirtier threads that run through our living weave. The piercing light will show them to us. We can repent.

What we do matters. How we vote matters. And as election day nears, what choice do we have? Stay home? Hide under the bed? Neither candidate is perfect, but then candidates have never been perfect. They are human, as one pundit pointed out. But this election will matter far more than any election in the history of our nation. We are hanging by a thread.

Many don’t like Mrs. Clinton, but see Mr. Trump as far worse. Why is that?

Mr. Trump makes offensive comments, many say in a superior tone. I find it curious that the liberal media find Mr. Trump’s words coarse and offensive, even “scary”,  especially toward women. Yet Mr. Trump’s words – and remember they are merely words, not actions or policy – clearly reflect the culture created by that same liberal media. Our culture is far more coarse and degrading (yes, especially toward women) than Mr. Trump has ever been. America is permeated with porn, a state that occurred as religion backed out (was forced out?) of the public square. As Heather McDonald writes in “Trumped-Up Outrage” on the City Journal’s website, quoted in the Wall Street Journal:

“Now, why might it be that men regard women as sex objects? Surely the ravenous purchase by females of stiletto heels, pus-up bras, butt-hugging mini-skirts, plunging necklines, false eyelashes, hair extensions, breast implants, butt implants, lip implants, and mascara, rouge, and lipstick to the tune of billions a year has nothing to do with it… The sudden onset of Victorian vapors among the liberal intelligentsia and political class at the revelation of Trump’s locker-room talk is part and parcel of the Left’s hypocrisy when it comes to feminism and sexual liberation… but the feminists can’t have it both ways: declaring that women should be equal to men in all things and then still demand a chivalric deference to female’s delicate sensibilities…”

The liberal elite feign shock as they smugly peer down from their ivory towers, sneering at the rest of us whom they consider to be “dumbed down.” They question our ability to make decisions about our own lives. But, remind me, who dumbed us down? Wouldn’t that be the purview of public schools, universities, television, movies, popular music, the press – yes, that same liberal elite.

What to do as a deplorable who is irredeemable according to Mrs. Clinton? Do those who find Mr. Trump offensive, and Mrs. Clinton criminal, assuage their consciences and not vote at all? Or vote for a third party candidate, which equals not voting.

Eric Metaxis, author of “If you Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty,” understands the problem of conscience, when to be speak, when to be silent. He researched Bonhoeffer speaking out against Hitler, and Wilberforce speaking out against slavery. He writes in the Wall Street Journal (“Should Christians Vote for Trump?”):

“If imperiously flouting the rules by having a private server endangered American lives and secrets and may lead to more deaths, if she cynically deleted thousands of emails, and if her foreign-policy judgment led to the rise of Islamic State, won’t refusing to vote make me responsible for those suffering as a result of these things? We would be responsible for passively electing someone who champions the abomination of partial-birth abortion, someone who is celebrated by an organization that sells baby parts. We already live in a country where judges force bakers, florists and photographers to violate their consciences and faith—and Mrs. Clinton has zealously ratified this. If we believe this ends with bakers and photographers, we are horribly mistaken. No matter your faith or lack of faith, this statist view of America will dramatically affect you and your children.” (Italics mine)

David Gelernter, Yale professor, writing in the Wall Street Journal (“Trump and the Emasculated Voter”) agrees:

“There is only one way to take part in protecting this nation from Hillary Clinton, and that is to vote for Donald Trump. A vote for anyone else or for no one might be an honest, admirable gesture in principle, but we don’t need conscientious objectors in this war for the country’s international standing and hence for the safety of the world and the American way of life… it’s no big deal of a sacrifice for your country. I can think of bigger ones.” 

It is a windy time, hurricane season. On the edge of an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I could be burned by the sun, drowned by the waters, blown by the winds. On the edge of the sea, it was beautiful. Yet the beauty scared me, teaching me that appearances could be deceiving.

In the most recent presidential debate, Mrs. Clinton appeared perfect – poised, confident, ebullient, hair coiffed. She was beautiful. Next to the bullish Trump she was serenity and wisdom in spite of her arrogance. But this Stepford candidate, this Barbie doll primed, wound up, and let go, didn’t seem human. She was a porcelain puppet controlled by an unseen master, held up by marionette strings.

James Dobson, evangelical author and founder of Focus on the Family, is voting for Mr. Trump, understanding that the next Supreme Court appointments, if made by a President Clinton, will destroy religious liberty. Pastors will not be allowed to preach. Hospitals, schools, missions for the poor, will be forced to close. Freedom will be given its last rites.

And so, I agree with Eric Metaxis when he mourns the many who will be hurt by a Clinton presidency. “A vote for Donald Trump is not necessarily a vote for Donald Trump himself. It is a vote for those who will be affected by the results of this election. Not to vote is to vote. God will not hold us guiltless.” (Italics mine) We are responsible for our choices. We will be held accountable. Nothing is lost, nothing forgotten, nothing wasted, nothing hidden.

We judge those who turned a blind eye to slavery and concentration camps. Those who chose not to see. We say, how could they do that? And yet, today, with the winds raging around us, we too are tempted to turn away, to leave the sick and the lame by the side of the road, to stop our ears to the cries of the dying.

The winds are rising, whining and howling like the hounds of death. Now is the time to make a stand for religious liberty, for law, for order, for honesty and truth. Edmund Burke was right when he said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

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