23 Feb 21

One of the problems about multiple postings in the day is that you don’t have the links for the next day’s text. You have used them up. So instead let’s consider what to do when things go pear shaped. The bull excreta is flung through a revolving air conditioner directly at you.

The first thing to know that it is not about you. It is about them. Appeasing them will not help one iota. You need to be prepared to retreat and restart. I live in a system where you cannot fire at will. Many do not. If you get anti fragile, then you may find the vectors of attack become your family: your nephews, your children who fall for the manipulation of this world.

So the first thing is to pray. Man is not faithful. God is.

Job 5:8-27

8 “As for me, I would seek God,
and to God would I commit my cause,
9 who does great things and unsearchable,
marvellous things without number:
10 he gives rain on the earth
and sends waters on the fields;
11 he sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
12 He frustrates the devices of the crafty,
so that their hands achieve no success.
13 He catches the wise in their own craftiness,
and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end.
14 They meet with darkness in the daytime
and grope at noonday as in the night.
15 But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth
and from the hand of the mighty.
16 So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts her mouth.
17 “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
18 For he wounds, but he binds up;
he shatters, but his hands heal.
19 He will deliver you from six troubles;
in seven no evil shall touch you.
20 In famine he will redeem you from death,
and in war from the power of the sword.
21 You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue,
and shall not fear destruction when it comes.
22 At destruction and famine you shall laugh,
and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.
23 For you shall be in league with the stones of the field,
and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.
24 You shall know that your tent is at peace,
and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing.
25 You shall know also that your offspring shall be many,
and your descendants as the grass of the earth.
26 You shall come to your grave in ripe old age,
like a sheaf gathered up in its season.
27 Behold, this we have searched out; it is true.
Hear, and know it for your good.”

The trouble is that you wait, at times, a hell of a long time. Sufficient time to get impatient: to be tempted. The Orthodox, who see salvation as a process rather than an one stop “sinner’s prayer” (which misses the subtlety of the Reformed position completely) remind us that when we fall we can repent and return to God. The process of walking with God sanctifies, and this seals our salvation.

I see the utility of a plea for salvation and a confession, weekly, that we are all sinners and need to return to God. And I think that half the theological arguments we have are around academic disputes, and do not help us live godly, sober and righteous lives. Even though I belong to the most fractious branch of the faith.

And we will have enemies. We will have bad things done to us. We will weep. We will mourn. This world wants us to make our own little hell and live comfortably in that. But Christ came to set us free.

1 Peter 3:8-18

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

The more we turn to Christ and we walk with him, the more people will see the changes in our lives and seethe. We will be hated. We will be shunned. And we will find the opposition increases as we become more faithful.

Reflecting on the positions of the Russian Orthodox Church in modern society in the Church and the World program, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion noted that the Church holds one of the leading positions in terms of trust among people, reports the press service of the Synodal Department for Church’s Relations with Society and Mass Media.

“I think it will be very difficult for someone to move the Church from this position, from this pedestal, because it has tremendous moral authority, even in spite of all the work that is being done against the Church,” the hierarch added.

At the same time, he expressed the conviction that “the more active the Church is, the more successful it is in its missionary, educational and charitable activities, the more opposition the Church will meet from the forces that are dissatisfied with its active presence in society.”

In my experience, fear when the state starts making partnerships with charities and churches. The state is a jealous God, and their audits will not encourage righteousness but instead diversity and debasement.

They want us to be like them. But we are called not to be such.