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A View from the Altar / Like a mushroom
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Like a mushroom

A friend of mine was describing an electrical grounding problem at a power plant.  With his Indian accent he said, “Steef, eese like beeg mushroom.”  He meant that it is a gigantic problem that lives underground and pops up with occasional symptoms that seem unrelated but actually spring from the same cause.  For my non-biologist friends, the world’s largest living thing is a mushroom.  You just have to know what you’re looking for to see the evidence of it coming to the surface here and there.

I’m reminded of that description each time America experiences a violent tragedy such as the one in Newtown, Connecticut.  This massacre is but one more sprout from a vast underground “mushroom” of a desperately sick culture.

Doug Wilson, normally one of the internet’s most judicious writers, says this:  “it is certainly not the time to be drawing ham-fisted comparisons to the abortion carnage.”  I believe Bro. Wilson is mistaken in this.  In fact, it’s the perfect time for the church to fulfill her prophetic office and point out that our Christless culture is bleeding with brutality and grief on every side.

It’s not just abortion, but crime of every sort.  It’s the stupendous murder rate in cities like New Orleans which ranks among the top five most dangerous cities on Earth.  It’s a sick Hollywood culture that sells murder for entertainment.  It’s our ever-grinding war machine that President Eisenhower warned against.  And yes, it’s an abortion industry that every day slays a hundredfold more than the precious lives lost in Newtown.  It’s a multitude of other things that make our civilization grow hourly more coarse, perverse, dangerous, bloody.

In the very moment when the nation is either asking why such things happen or else clamoring to seize the moment for political gain, the church must find the voice to say to grieving America, to angry America, to blame-shifting America, “This is why such things happen.  This crime did not erupt like a stroke from the pit with no warning of what was to come.  We, all of us, have been building a godless, Christless, amoral culture of death where such things are inevitable!”

America is such a needy nation.  We need wisdom.  We need self control.  We need a return of courtesy and manners.  We need faithfulness and loyalty.  We need homes where parents take responsibility for their children and, in turn, raise sons and daughters who shoulder the responsibilities of a great nation.  We need a knowledge of virtue and a passion for it.  We need to be a people that loves what is right and fights bravely against what is wrong.

But above all these things, we need a Savior.  Our nation hides within its bosom a slaughter of innocents blacker than the atrocities of King Herod.  Nothing of this world can wash away such a stain.  No reformation, no revival of good morals, no tears shed over the graves of the dead can cleanse us.  Nothing indeed but the blood of Jesus can satisfy at once the outcry for justice and our need for mercy.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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