• Ben Corley

Conservative Christian America: What Do We Do Now? - Overture

I've been alive for (counts on fingers) 38 years now. The whole of my adult, vote-casting life, I have watched both President and Legislature, without fail, make some blisteringly stupid decisions. In some cases, they got within spitting distance of the line between liberty and the lack thereof, and other times I've seen them take a flying leap over the line between federal and state authority and landed squarely in the sandbox of basic liberties. The whole of my adult life, there has been little in the way of meaningful push back. Lately, in the last decade or so, there has been the creep of culture into even the most conservative of Christian circles, and it has been met with... again... little in the way of meaningful resistance. This series is meant to be the sum of observations, thoughts, scribbled notes, ranting to myself in my cell phone at a red light while state highway patrol looked on with concern, reflections over terrible cheeseburgers, and real-life wisdom handed down and hard earned throughout the years.

Look, I know that while I do have grey and white starting to turn my beard into a winter wonderland, and that I'm far (I hope) from the end of my race, but things have gotten weird, unpredictable, and frankly more than a little concerning in the last 2 years on their own, the other 18 years around them not even able to keep up with the pace. Likewise, this isn't supposed to be a Martin Luther style master list or Rand Paul style airing of grievances. What it's meant to do is hopefully have the intended audience pause, take a breath, and really consider the place they are in, how they got there, and what could be in the future for them. Failing that, maybe I can parlay it into a book deal.

This is going to be a lengthy series. It's a project that by necessity is going to be broken into phases, stages, and published in several parts. For a start, we have this overture to give a broad, 30,000 foot view of what is to come. Next, there will be an essay specifically talking about the audience I am writing to, why I am specifically writing to them, and give the rest of you either an escape hatch or a window into the mind of that secretive and scary bloc of wild weirdos... Conservative Christians. From there, we springboard head long into the main body of the project which will cover the past and present and future in their own sections and subsections. In closing, there will be a conclusion essay to hopefully tie any loose threads together or demonstrate where the gaps are and try to shore up the defenses.

So... what are we going to talk about? The main body of the project will begin in part one with a reflection on the things that have happened in the past, and more directly it is going to be meant to address how to put those ghosts to bed. There are several things that we, as conservatives, as Christians, as human beings are dwelling on, holding on to, and clinging to and they're not helping us one small bit. From the way things were handled by government, by the church, by our family and friends, and by each of us individually, these things are like wounds that never got a chance to heal properly and likely still have stuff inside it that needs to be opened, cleaned, and then left to heal in a better way. By leaning into the story of Joshua from Genesis, the drive will be to unpack the idea of forgiveness as a way to put the hurts, disappointments, betrayals, and outright crimes to bed so that we can move forward into where we are, and then continue on to where we are going. There will be a focus on what forgiveness is, what it isn't, what it's meant for, what it's not meant for, and the rewards that it offers for the other stages that will come later. It is crucial that this section be addressed in as great a detail as my skills as a writer can convey, for failure to make peace with the past will leave us trapped in a labyrinthine hedge maze without string or markers to guide us back and out.

The next section will be to deal with where we are, how we are to behave and act with one another. Using the life of Jesus Christ, Daniel, and the Prophets Elijah and Elisha, we will look at the actions and reactions which are meant to be done out of loving kindness but are not always meant to be nice. We will explore the difference, the responsibilities of those speaking with this loving kindness in their heart, the responsibilities of the listener, and how to support both of those as the Church. This, I would wager, is where much of my fan mail will be coming from.

The final part in the main body of work will be how to proceed going forward. This will be done through the reflections and observations of Paul through his epistles to the various churches around the Roman and Greek speaking world, but will be heavily influenced by the 13th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. The emphasis will be placed on authority, submission to authority, the responsibility of authority, the limitations of authority, and the responses to authority when that authority oversteps or reaches beyond their proper sphere of influence.

I hope to make this at least a little amusing while I write. I know this can be a weighty subject and that preachy and weighty often result in this coming off more like a textbook than a plucky essay written by a guy on the internet. I hope to be able to make as many references as possible that you'll get and understand, and if not, I'm sure I can find a way to add footnotes to explain my humor or lack thereof for the public. At the end of the day, my want is to put down the issues I have with the government, the culture, and the church, and in doing so... offer other options, observations, and antidotes. If nothing else, I want my trial to go quickly when they send me to the gulag.

Now then, let's get to work.

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