With conspiracy theories figuratively to the left of me… and the right of me… with apologies to Tennyson… this passage of Scripture reminds me of the focus:
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
We have created our political/religious echo chambers and have settled quite easily into them. I have to determine not to go this way. We need, as believers, as fresh determination to soak ourselves in truth. Soak yourself in the Kingdom of God.
This has taken me back to a reliable place. (This is aside from the soaking in Scripture I take in on a daily basis from readings in the Daily Office.) I have picked up Seven Storey Mountain by Merton again. I get immersed in his conversion and call. I know so many love Augustine’s Confessions, but this one resonates with my soul in a deeper way.
I have picked up Esau McCaulley’s forthcoming book Reading While Black, which calls believers back to a basic understanding: the historic Black Church has read the Scriptures with greater faithfulness than the white American church for a long time. And it is a refreshing read. (The book releases in September.)
Both books remind me that my fundamentalist, evangelical, Pentecostal upbringing has been extremely individualistic, which has a place, but there is also my place as a believer in this world. That has a cost. A lovely cost. A cost I have come to embrace.
Echo chambers all around… we have to decide the way forward as American Christians is to be immersed in the life of the Kingdom of God. Endure.