Watching #shadowyconservativegroups trend is #myguiltypleasure

My philosophy of government has been libertarian since 1992 when I first read Leonard E. Read’s The Elements of Libertarian Leadership. So on May 30, when I saw #shadowyconservativegroups flash by in my Twitter home stream with libertarian sentiments attached, I was intrigued.  I typed the hashtag into TweetChat, and I watched it trend with guilty pleasure until only retweets filled the screen.

The pleasure comes because so many individuals seem to understand that personal responsibility and limited government are required elements of liberty. The guilt comes because I know that tweeting against the way President Obama and Congress are expanding socialism in our country is not the way to recover our lost liberties.

I wrote about why I think libertarian-atheist is an oxymoron during my short association with examiner.com. Sometime soon, I will post the gist of those articles here on Grammas’ Guide. But for now I will start with the a priori statement: Liberty—spiritual, emotional, political—is totally dependent on our Creator. We will have civil liberty only when Christians realize that our collective goal cannot be to reform the government. It must be to radically obey God.

Of course if we are obedient to our high calling in Jesus Christ, we can be sure that hearts will be transformed. And since everyone in government has a heart, we might even see our government transformed as well. But that’s just an agreeable consequence of our faithfulness. It is not a primary goal for the Christian.

For thirty-five years I’ve been convinced that the secret to seeing the Church triumphant is distilled for us in our Lord’s high priestly prayer in John 17.

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

He made provision for our unity, and that unity is His means for displaying His glory. God wants our unity to be a witness to the world that the Father sent the Son and loves us as He loves His Son. How it must break the heart of God to see His children still caught in the same trap that divided the Corinthians into Paulites, Apolloites, and Cephasites. (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) If we want to live in liberty, we must learn to come together by His Spirit. We must stop dividing His body and destroying our witness because of our political philosophies, pet doctrines, or worship styles.  

I will probably smile guiltily again whenever I see conservatives  playing hashtags games on Twitter.  But I will also pray with Christ that we will be one as He is one with His Father.  I will pray that Christian conservatives & Christian liberals, Christian independents & Christian party loyalists, Christian libertarians & Christian socialists will all join our Lord in His prayer that we will be made perfect in one.

When that happens we can be certain that, no matter what is going on in Washington, the Lord will keep us in perfect peace because our minds will be fixed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)

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The Hunger Games leave the reader starving for God.

My nephew handed me his copy of The Hunger Games and ended my internal debate over whether or not I would read it. Catching Fire and Mockingjay came to me soon afterwards: Samuel reads rapidly.

I knew the plot and the characters before I opened the first book because my interest in the story began at Speculative Faith in an online discussion with spoilers. Curiosity immediately sent me to Amazon reviews where I switched back and forth between five-star and one-star opinions. Within a few minutes I learned the fates of Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, and Prim.

Only one thing took me totally by surprise when I actually read the trilogy: the crushing avalanche of despair that pours continuously from the pages. The first two books end in defeat. On the last page of the third book I saw a single dandelion growing in a mountain of destruction. The Hunger Games is certainly not a feel-good epic!

Reactions to the books vary from love to hate, but ambivalent is the only word to describe my own opinion. I agree with those who believe that child on child violence is not an appropriate subject for impressionable young readers. I also agree with those who believe that the consequence of war is an appropriate subject for everyone to consider.

Suzanne Collins does show readers the physical, mental, and emotional destruction that comes with war, and that may be reason enough to read her books. But it is not the reason I recommend them. Whatever her intention in the story may be, Collins paints a world where godlessness leads to the moral disintegration of humanity. The Hunger Games open a door for the discussion about civilization starved for God, and that is why I think they are worth reading.

I have been captivated by apologetics since I first read C.S. Lewis’s reasoned defense of the Faith in Mere Christianity. Whenever I do housework, instead of music, I often listen to a William Lane Craig debate or a Reasons to Believe podcast.  I am well acquainted with Richard Dawkins and the New AtheismThe Hunger Games show how the zealous proselytizing of 21st century atheism is an instrument in the hand of our almighty God. It serves to spread of the gospel by forcing people to consider their Creator and answer questions that have eternal consequences.

Each reasoned encounter between theist and atheist simply repeats Joshua’s command, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15) Each debate puts God in the front and center in every argument and in every rebuttal,  in every question and in every answer. Each individual who listens to the debaters must decide whether he trusts in God or trusts in matter and energy as the best explanation for our present reality. Each time Dawkins denies God’s existence in a public forum, he openly confronts the Creator he wants to flee.

In The Hunger Games the debate is over, and atheism’s triumphant end  is godlessness. Panem is a world where no one can make the moral argument for the existence of God. Cultural relativism is the universal philosophy in what remains of North America. Poor Katniss lives tormented by a shredded image of God in her soul, but she cannot find Him among the defeated people in District 12 or among the ruthless conquerors in the Capitol.  Her determination to remain childless, her difficulty bonding with Peeta, and her suicidal mission all make perfect sense in a world without God, without ultimate purpose, and without eternal hope.

As Gramma’s Guide to The Hunger Games continues in my next post, I will tell you why I think  Katniss is an excellent example of a mythical hero.