Theological compatibilism is a heavy topic for a coffee-craving brain on an early Monday morning. But this leads somewhere. We are in the middle-ground, and from here we can thank God for coronavirus.
The term “compatibilism” means a belief that God is in control of the ends, but we have liberty in the means. This is the middle-ground between fatalism, a kind of logical outworking of Calvin’s thoughts on election and irresistible grace, and a Christian understanding of existentialism, such as favored by Søren Kierkegaard. The middle-ground is based on God’s sovereignty, inherent goodness, and His holiness of purpose, versus mankind’s depravity, fallen nature, and obsession with ourselves.
If God has already worked out everything that is going to happen in the world, and to you, me, and your neighbor, each and every day, then we have nothing to worry about. Sit back and watch it happen. If, as Satre believed, we are “condemned to be free,” trapped in an existential angst between perpetual and vexing conflicts, then we are waiting for Godot, and the bus will never arrive. Somewhere in the middle, we find our moral responsibility to act in concert with goodness, grace, mercy, love, and all the things we hear preached at Sunday School.
In the middle-ground, we can thank God for coronavirus. Because the virus is a great equalizer, and able to penetrate the lies and manipulations we grow so comfortable believing.
Politics is about manipulation, meaning exploitation. Governing can be about moral choices, leadership, and example. But politics is none of that. This is why both parties, at times, either reject or embrace populism. When one party catches hold of issues in harmony with the boot-soled grassroots, populism becomes its heart-cry. And for the opposing party, it becomes nothing more than the rabble screaming in criminal insanity. In rare instances when clarity blows in like a fresh wind, both sides are revealed in their backstage machinations–the cue cards are plainly visible, the rigging shining in the klieg lights.
Coronavirus has done this to both the Democrats and the Republicans in 2020. Democrats are manipulating BLM/Antifa/CHOP through their media, educational, institutional, and cultural hegemony. Republicans are stoking the flames of blue-collar Americans on whose backs the elite step so daintily so as not to walk in the muck of actual labor. And both drink freely of the cash fountains flowing from exploitation politics.
Matt Taibbi, the one who wrote for Rolling Stone, penned a stellar review of a book by historical journalist Thomas Frank, titled “The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.” The book explains much of the Trump era and phenomenon, as did the last two books Frank wrote. It both comports with and reinforces the tableaus and meticulously compiled statistics in Salena Zito’s book “The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.”
With the economy humming along, and Democrats appearing only as dissatisfied and ungrateful louts, President Trump’s exploitation of the populist revolt would remain safely behind the curtain of his political stage. But coronavirus changed all that, and pulled back the curtain, revealing the insecure, thin-skinned, paranoid man directing, writing, and producing his stage play.
The virus also exposed Democrats never letting a crisis go to waste, as it were. It has accelerated their goose-stepped march into groupthink, and cancel-culture’s 1984ish dystopian elite wet dream. Joe Biden, in this nightmare, is the one college student who, obliviously, bumbles his way through the monsters without so much as a scratch. Biden is a potted plant on stage right of the left’s riot porn opera.
Both sides are exploiting America. Both sides torture Lady Liberty to the point of her wishing death rather than endure the excruciating mockery. Neither side truly cares about the ends of their self-obsessed means. Both sides are offending God and man with their destructive hatred.
In this, I am driven nowhere but to my knees, in prayer to the God who holds the ends in His hands.
Matthew 24:4 – “And Jesus answered them, ‘See that no one leads you astray.'” Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Romans 16:18: “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” Ezekiel 34:4 “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.”
Genesis 1:1-31 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. …”
John 8:32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God separates the darkness from the light. God is the light. Coronavirus has killed tens of thousands, and for those deaths I am grieved. But I give thanks to God for the clarity, for the exposing of manipulation, exploitation, and the devil’s plans of chaos, death, destruction, division and hate.
Love will win in the end, because God has triumphed over evil. But we must remain focused on the means. Do not put your trust in politics. Just look around and give thanks to God for clarity in the middle-ground.