Lord, ...we understand the battle…

But the war has been obscured.

Yes, our enemy is clever,

And his strategy endures.

He would like for us to wander

From the Truth until it’s lost.

As he toys with armchair generals

Who forget to count the cost.

He provokes and prods to anger,

He inflames and he demeans,

He incites ungodly passions..

“To the barricades!” he screams.

So, we all picked up our pitchforks,

And we charge into the night.

We’ve identified “the villains”,

Now we’re madly picking fights.

* * *

Never mind the truth we’re missing

That’s been cleverly concealed.

Never mind sincere reflection

That the mirror might reveal.

It’s a devilish encounter.

It’s the bloody lie we bought.

There’s no peace without awareness

Of the snare in which we’re caught.*


* “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant[e] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” -- 2Timothy 2: 22-26


“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”- C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters”

Expand full comment

Fantastic work. Thank you.

Expand full comment

Thank you.

Expand full comment

If you get the chance to, I would be very interested if you would expand on the point you were making when you said, "The theology of cities in the Bible is actually pretty bad, but God will eventually build a new city that is perfect." I'm pretty sure I agree with you here, but I'm not sure I really understand what you're meaning to say (and I am very sure I couldn't explain it to someone else.)

Expand full comment

I second Brian H., but from what I hear of Eric Adams, I can see why Christians might vote for him. Also Christians who study the Puritan revolution in 17th century England and the American revolution in the 18th century must acknowledge that some Christian people took up arms against the State - and then they trusted "the Sovereignty of God." Historians have noted that George Washington did not take communion, but he was in an awkward position, fighting a war against the head of the Anglican church. Likewise the American Civil War divided Christians in the North and South.

Expand full comment

Romans 3:23 - "For ALL (emphasis mine) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." So, what part of "all" doesn't apply to those who self-righteously attempt to elevate themselves above others? And love your God, love your neighbor. If we TRULY did this - and I'm not talking about the henhouse clucks and their "bless your heart" mentality - then the entire rest of your piece is unnecessary. All that you advocate would fall in place organically because love would dictate our actions.

Expand full comment

...and we live in a day when much of the visible church exhibits Romans 12:2a, hence the need for the rest of Erick's piece - we need to move to Rom 12:2b!

Paul lived under true tyranny, yet no where does he mention getting politics to align with the gospel. He was about building the Kingdom of God, went about life and business with his primary goal to spread the gospel. Then he was in prison, still spreading the gospel, then martyred and still the gospel spread. The USA brings a different challenge - we can influence politics. Frankly this is a distraction, especially right now. We mix our allegiance to God and our efforts to prevent politics from following Rome's demise morally. At some point, our divided attention makes us ineffective in both arenas. Love God, Love your neighbor. Vote. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Expand full comment

It's tough to find a non-sinner to vote for. It's like impossible. Politics in the church at the church level is tough enough to stomach and shun, National politics is even worse. Thanks for the refresher course on 'being' christian.

Expand full comment

I remember in 1979 I was at a church youth group and they showed the movie "A thief in the night" one week, and the sequel "A distant thunder" the next about the second coming of Christ. The movie opens the morning after the rapture. People are just gone.

I've gone back to thoughts on that often over the years since. I've always thought that people are going to be stunned by some of those who were left behind. They certainly won't all be democrats and their will be many cloistered people among them who have led their flocks astray.

Expand full comment
May 2, 2022·edited May 2, 2022

God is neither Republican nor Democrat. Neither is Jesus. No-one has a monopoly on the truth. God makes lemonade out of lemons, and as sinners we are ALL lemons. There are certainly some varieties that are less astringent than others. I like to think of myself as more the Meyer lemon type. Not quite so tart while some I am in contact with are the more a type of lemon that will turn your face inside out.

Anyone who thinks God cannot work within some element of the Democratic party needs a lesson on Christianity and faith. This is not all black and white on the grand scale. You need to consider things Issue by issue. Person by person. That doesn't mean accepting what is as wrong. This intersects with post-modernism. Those who employ their "Reason" to contort scripture to find justification of their peccadillos and their truth are going to have a rough time come judgment day.

Erick is right about policing your own. We should support people in the Christian community to police their own. To stand up where their beliefs conflict with others. Be the moderating influence. Be willing to say no. This is where the Democratic Party falls way short. They are very effective at keeping people in line. The Democrat brave enough to object, is going to need support and the grace of the Christian community. Tulsi Gabbard seems to have had a few revelations revealed to her, but I doubt I would agree with most of what she believes.

Same on the Republican side. People object and stand up all the time. Just some of them are either wing-nuts or duplicitous doing things for the wrong reasons.

Stand for what you believe, but don't be the braying biblical hypocritical donkey.

Expand full comment

God is sovereign.

And any political party is secular.

A blinding flash of the obvious. Thank you for the reminder we are really just navigating the secular world, and that can be done both earnestly and honestly in many different ways.

The Church represents, or should, the things of God, not of man, not of politics.

Expand full comment

Thank you! As I have matured, I have developed a changed love for 1 Peter 3:15. The desire to focus on “give an answer” has given way to the reason for “give an answer”: “the hope within you”! This is what make true Biblical Christianity appealing and worthwhile.

Expand full comment

Well done, sir. Well done. With the standing up of the Global Methodist church, the split in the United Methodist congregation is all but assured when the next general conference meets. Leadership knows this, which is why they are doing their level-best to put it off. I will remain in my UM church and re-engage to speak Jesus, sacrifice of self, and scripture in the hopes that those I meet will be convicted to follow the path God has for them rather than the path Man has for them. Thanks again.

Expand full comment

Erick, this was a very thought provoking piece. I have to say I kept thinking of the bumper sticker I see on Jeeps and other SUVs, that reads ALL WHO WANDER ARE NOT LOST. Not that you wandered but you covered many topics and threads. I have friends who are non political, and others (but not many) who are leftist in their attitude and theology. Personally I am conservative both socially and religiously. I am a Republican down the list of priorities. I have to admit I have a bright line of thought. I do not flash it like a sword, but I never shy away from proclaiming it as the situation requires. I know you are a big Tim Keller fan, but for me, I really don't like the idea of

placating errant theology. I do not expect purity to my way of thinking, because we all approach the subject differently. Like many other preachers and teachers, I like it to be crystal clear about what I think and believe, and not with fuzzy lines, but bright lines. Amos is a wonderful book and I have taught it...I also like Habakkuk that mirrors our society and our complaints about it. I especially think of a verse in Ch 2 v18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?

Or an image that teaches lies?"

Many of the so-called preachers today support images that are cultural to the secular society, but teach lies. They fail to point it out with bright lines. That is unacceptable for me.

Your article is certainly thought provoking and makes one think about how we react to the negative things in society. I hope for me, it is in a kind, but clear Christian way. Loving the person and not condoning or excusing the behavior or belief, but not condemning and burning our relationship to the ground over it. There ARE hills to die on, but as Christians we need to be thoughtful in selecting them.

Expand full comment

The bumper sticker is an alteration of a line in a poem from LOTR:

"All that is gold does not glitter,

not all those who wander are lost,

the old that is strong does not wither,

deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall waken,

a light from the shadows shall spring,

renewed shall be blade that was broken,

the crownless again shall be King."

I love that poem, I see in it hope for Christian revival, that the deep roots of Christianity in America will someday turn our nation back to the Lord.

Expand full comment

Thanks for the whole context of the bumper sticker. I see the hope too. It will be a race between any turning and His return. Both are hopeful.

Expand full comment

I wouldn’t agree with some of the down-in-the-weeds matters you touched upon here, but over all I am glad you have the platform to put forth what others think and you are able to voice.

Re Amos…I had to write two papers for the same processor while I was in seminary. One was on Rahab in Joshua. I was told to rewrite it because I was not feminist enough. The other was on social justice and Amos. The latter paper was loved. The former was rewritten, but I immaturely went over the top ridiculing the professor in it (I am not anti-feminist, but I as a graduate student, I was anti-rewrite a paper because of political views.

Needless to say, I failed that class. Then I withdrew, converted to Catholicism, and haven’t looked back. :D

Expand full comment

I soooo appreciate this piece, even as I feel the judgment of God on some of my own choices. We who clam the name of Christ must actually claim HIM in our lives. I certainly see the muddle you describe, and it is very hard to see politics as a good party versus a bad party these days. I imagine it has always been this way.

Thank you for keeping the main thing the main thing. When we vote, we must pray for guidance through the jungle, and then actually listen for a response. Side note: in my observation, most of us pray for guidance and then thank God as we do what we intended to do anyway without actually listening for an answer. You call for us to listen and obey. If we all did that, I believe the world would feel like a better place.

When I pray the Lord's Prayer, I usually pause for a while when I reach the part that says, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." I probably need to pause a little longer and get real with myself. When we are tempted to believe there is a good political party and a bad one, we need to remember this line.

Expand full comment

Great piece!!!

Expand full comment

Outstanding! Erick you may as well keep this one in a file that is easy to access. It will stay relevant and will need to be posted every so often.

Expand full comment