The game has changed. We better...
Most of us are pretty naive about how the world works. We can study quantum physics, understand the dynamics of motion, the puzzles of deep space and black holes, human metabolism, the grandeur of architecture, and the glories of language. It's the "human element" that is so confounding. We just can't figure what makes our species tick. Part of the mystery is that culture changes so swiftly and the rules by which we humans govern life adjust with every passing wind. And, here we are, the evangelical Christian sub-group trying to live by the good book, the generally accepted mores of our nation, and the standards of decency communicated to us via history. In this complicated time, when protesters are rioting, when Washington is in gridlock, when employees are given paid time off to march in the streets, and when petitions are circulating for impeachment of the elected POTUS, we don't for the most part know the rules that govern that segment of our population. We better at least know the rules. It doesn't mean we have to play by them. Our standard must be higher. But, we better wise up some about what motivates those citizens to disrupt the sanctity of our representative republic.
When Jesus sent his disciples out to change the world he warned them---
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as
serpents and innocent as doves.
Matthew 10:16, ESV
It was really a horrifying image, sheep among wolves, perhaps even a bloody one at that. Jesus taught them to be as wise as serpents in their interaction with the world they would encounter. He told them what to expect and how they should respond to it. In the backdrop is the wisdom of knowing something about the playbook that governed the people they would seek to influence with the Gospel. Maybe there's a lesson here for us too.
The extreme left in America uses Rules For Radicals (Random House, 1971) by Saul Alinsky as their guide for communicating their message and organizing communities to insure society is hearing them. This system is very disruptive. Here are the thirteen rules that drive their leftest agenda for America.
1-Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
2-Never go outside the expertise of your people. It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
3-Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
4-Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
5-Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
6-A good tactic is one your people enjoy. They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
7-A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Don’t become old news.
8-Keep the pressure on. Never let up. Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
9-The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
10-The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.
11-If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive. Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
12-The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
13-Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Of course, Scripture should be my playbook. And, there are hundreds of biblical commands and instructions about our interactions with those who would neglect, ridicule, or oppose the traditional standards of the Bible. But, up front, in position one, is our need to know the rules that mark the times. And, those thirteen summaries are it. We better know them and learn the proper biblical response to them in times as confusing and complicated as these.
Jesus added a note of security in those perplexing circumstances. He said---
Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are
to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit
of your Father speaking through you.
Matthew 10:19-20, ESV
We don't have to play by their rules, but we better know them, and have confidence in God to guide us as we represent him in these challenging times.