Friday, August 18, 2017

Suddenly, like a mighty, rushing wind

A lot of people are asking, “Why all of a sudden?”

Why “all of sudden” are certain statues a problem? Why “all of sudden” is the Confederate flag a bad thing? Why “all of a sudden” are things not staying the way they were? Why “all of a sudden” do I need to change my thinking?

Perhaps it's like the process of sanctification.

When we become Christians, everything that needs to doesn't fall away at once. Over time, as the Holy Spirit repeatedly nudges us and, when we finally accede and acknowledge the problem because the pain of ignoring it has grown too intense, then all of a sudden we address it and begin the process of change. Finally, Truth has broken through.

Or, perhaps it's like reading our Bible and we read the same passage again and again dozens and dozens of times over the years when all of a sudden new meaning bursts forth and we see its deeper meaning. A meaning we've missed, ignored, glossed over for all those years. At last, Truth finally takes hold.

Or, perhaps it’s like when I was a kid just learning to read and for whatever reason I thought the sign above a little shopping center in my hometown said Pawnee Village. When others pointed out that’s not what it said, then all of a sudden I saw that it was actually Payne Village. Truth opened my eyes.

Or, perhaps it’s like amazing grace as expressed in one of America’s favorite hymns that describes “I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see” and now all of a sudden things look different, feel different, are different because the light has come and shattered the darkness all of a sudden. Mercifully, Truth finally broke through.

Or, perhaps it’s like after centuries of preparation, of wandering in the wilderness, after the birth, ministry, and death of Christ, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting” and nothing was ever quite the same again. Truth was victorious.

Sometimes it takes time for truth and Truth to take hold and become effective. The result may seem like it came “all of a sudden” -- like water coming to a boil in a microwave -- but the process of change was happening all along.

It’s a process, not a conspiracy.

The bottom line is, as the saying goes, better late than never, even when it feels so sudden. That’s the Truth, the Way, and the Life at work.

Additional resources:

How many times in your life have you faced change that at first annoyed you but later made a lot of sense, perhaps leaving you scratching your head wondering, “Why’d it take so long?” Why is change so hard for us? How have you successfully faced and accepted change? How should Christians respond to what’s happening around them in politics and society? Is there ever a time when we should avoid change? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Stephen,
    I for on do not like the process. People want them removed, let the be taken down and a collector can put them up else where on private property. Freedom of Speech does not include the destruction of private or public property. Yes, I am Southern, but there is more to it than that.

    20, 50 or 100 years from now, someone will twist Martin Luther King's message. Should his stature, street names, school names be removed because some group wants to say it offends them?

    What of the public display of the American flag or the cross of Christ? There are some who already claim the American flag is just as racist and the Confederate flag and you often see it at White Supremacist rallies. Many Muslims don't care for the cross of Christ, other religions feel the same way.

    How many slaves did Lee own when the war broke out? None. Jackson put his reputation on the line and broke Virginia law to educate blacks. There is a stained glass window in a Black Methodist church paid for by the families that Jackson led to the Lord. I suppose it should be destroyed.

    When we judge past societies by modern standards we lose focus on our history. After all, the Founders were just a bunch or rich white racist, right? America is not a nation based on Christian principles, right? No, and No.

    As much as I believe in your work, enjoy your insight, and know you are a man of God; I believe you kind of missed the boat this time.

    It's like the cross on the water tower about 10 miles from here. It has been there for over 50 years, since the water company was a private company not a public utility. And, now, because a tourist took a short cut (got lost actually) and saw it, it is tied up in a legal battle. He says he was offended when he saw it, it made him feel bad about himself, so he wants it removed. My thoughts: go back to Wisconsin.

    Sooner or later a line must be drawn. Freedom of speech and expression should not be tampered with or bullied. Remember that picture of Christ many years ago that was covered in urine and called art? And the National Endowment of the Arts fought for it. And won. I didn't like that but it stayed on display. At what point do we interrupt the Constitution and Bill of Rights? That is a slippery slope. Maybe the cities should vote on the removal during their next elections. That would be along the lines of how our Founding Fathers would have wanted them done.

    1. Randy,

      I didn't think you'd agree with me in this. That's okay. Many don't. Yet.

      Taking down a statue doesn't change history. It just removes a statue. Taking down evil changes history. And I am NOT advocating that anything be taken down without due process but only within the law and with proper local discussion, etc.

      Here's another perspective:

      "Why I Changed My Mind About Confederate Monuments" -

      This is good too; listen to the end:

      "Equal Justice Initiative's Bryan Stevenson on Charlottesville and Trump's response"

      And this is good insight about the falsity of the slippery slope argument:

      "Why slippery slope arguments should not stop us from removing Confederate monuments"

      It's all good food for thought. And prayer.

      Love you, bro!


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