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Then there's the pit...


Shout out to all the brilliant authors who've been contributing to our post-convention election mania. Reading the many angles on this election has been another education process for most of us, especially the contributions of so many noted theologians, political and social scientists, and cultural observers. There's been a good bit of gibberish too, some from my own keyboard. In the main however, most have brought learning to the process and I for one can always use more of that.

There's been a common denominator in most of articles I've read, that is, beyond the fact that they've been about the candidates, the political parties, or the election system in general. They're all synced by the scientific method that shapes their conclusions. And, it's simple: there is none. For the most part these professionals have anchored their opinions, recommendations, endorsements, and political savvy on mere speculation. Who will Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton appoint to the Supreme Court of the United States? How will the military respond to either of them as Commander in Chief? Which one of them will secure our place at the table of nations? Will they support and enforce the Constitution of the United States or continue the political trend of minimizing and reducing it? Who will be appointed to cabinet positions? And, the list goes on.

It's a different kind of spiritual blindness, the art of speculation. It may be a stretch but there's even biblical instruction about avoiding such guesswork. Paul wrote to Timothy---

As I urged you on my departure to Macedonia, you should stay on at Ephesus to

instruct certain men not to teach false doctrines or devote themselves to myths

and endless genealogies, which promote speculation rather than the stewardship

of God’s work, which is by faith.

1 Timothy 1:3-4, ESV

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they

breed quarrels. 2 Timothy 2:23, ESV

He also wrote in a similar vein to the Corinthians---

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the

knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of

Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV

Let me confess to misusing these texts to a some degree. Certainly these passages don't reference civic elections or the speculations journalists or other professionals use to make or validate their theses or arguments. They do however support the doctrine of man's sinful nature by highlighting the tendencies of our speculation: false doctrine; myths; endless genealogies; foolish, ignorant controversies; quarrels; and, lofty things raised against the knowledge of God. Speculation is a fuel of sorts, designed to ignite. Sometimes the conjecture inflames emotions and passions that divide. As the verses indicate, these premises often bait people down uncertain, often dangerous paths.

But, here's the real kicker. A majority of this speculation is wagered by individuals who have built their case around their own credentials. The reading public often can't separate expertise in one field from that in another. For example, Dr. Wayne Grudem, an eminent theologian respected across the doctrinal landscape, wrote a dazzling piece giving evangelical Christians "permission" as it were to vote for Donald Trump in the election. I cheered the article because so many evangelicals leaning toward Mr. Trump have been demonized by the #neverTrump cult. Yet, even with his stellar standing in the theological community, his thoughts were mostly speculative. What is more, most of the responses to his article, especially the negatives, were much the same, predictions and forecasts based on speculative assumptions and guesswork.

There is a truth in the underbrush of these debates. None of us knows what is going to happen. Our best and brightest constitutional minds cannot predict with accuracy what the court is going to do, who's going to occupy these seats, or what challenges are going to be made to test the fabric of our governing documents. Like the weather, we can develop scenarios, probabilities, strike zones, and storms paths. But, no one can predict with any degree of certainty what's going to happen.

And, that's the trip wire about all the speculation. It's just guess work, and it often leads people to make rash decisions. Of course, that's the deal isn't it? Let me establish my expertise in one area, then claim special insights into another, and have people falling all over themselves about my brightness. They're with me. I'm somebody. It's the politics of me (from yesterday), inappropriately applied.

Which leads me to the picture and a Bible thought. Speaking of the Pharisees, Jesus said---

And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.

Matthew 15:14, ESV

And, that's the sad part of all this speculation. Then, there's the pit...


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