The Art of Standing is about courage, about encouragement, about rising from the fall, about lifting each other up, about standing strong, about standing on the solid rock.
It is also about what you stand for.
I am a Christian so I write from a Christian perspective. My goal isn’t to write only for Christians or to do what the current culture laughingly calls Bible thumping. This is about life and finding the strength for it. Which leads me to faith. The harder life gets, the more I look to God for strength beyond myself.
Which brings me to politics.
It shouldn’t. I live in a country where religious freedom is guaranteed by the founding documents of the nation. Our rights are described as being obviously, self-evidently and unalienably given by God.
But more and more I find, not tolerance and freedom, not even intolerance but outright attack on my beliefs, on my unalienable rights, on the building blocks of my soul.
This week the United States Army issued a training manual in which I am declared a threat to this country. I am a member of an extremist group, similar to Neo-Nazis, gangs, Hamas, white supremacists and AQIM Al Queda.
In fact, I’m number one on the list.
These are slides from the actual training presentation:
I’m apparently a terrorist if I believe my faith is better than others or that my faith is right compared to others:
I am accused of using force to deprive others of their civil rights:
Commanders may order me not to participate in Evangelical Christian activities:
I can’t participate in a “rally”, attend a meeting or pass out literature and I may look like this:
I might undermine my unit’s command and confidence and also might look like this:
My grandfather served in the Army and was gassed in Europe during World War I.
My Father served in the Army during World War II in the Pacific and Korea.
My nephew is currently a medic in Afghanistan.
All evangelical Christians.
By the way, to evangelize is the biblical word for sharing your faith, the same as MacIntosh has confessed evangelicals like Guy Kawasaki, the same way products are “evangelized” using commercials on TV and radio, the same way politicians “evangelize” us with endless commercials during elections. It’s simply freedom of speech and is no more dangerous than a tampon or erectile dysfunction commercial, though less annoying.
Up until this commander-in-chief, Christians have been welcomed in the military, considered “normal” and assumed they were fighting for their Constitutional rights including freedom of religion. Perhaps because of this:
Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 (NIV)
And Christians did put their lives on the line and some laid down their lives for their friends. Chaplains were an integral part of the military where men’s lives were in mortal danger for their country. Many of our country’s military heroes are, and continue to be, Christians.
Yet, I am now an extremist to my government.
I am forced to stand up for my faith and religious freedom because my commander-in-chief will not. What was once commonly understood is now publicly ridiculed as dangerous and associated with treasonous and terrorist activity.
I am forced to stand up for the freedom of my children and their children.
I am forced to stand up for God.
And that’s where I stand.
Photo: Ballerina On River Rock by Dennis Ritchie