There is a bird outside my window singing as if the whole state is his audience. I’m betting 86% of its body mass is vocal cords. I thought he was talking to me, but the little bird uses some of the same words to harass the squirrels. It is an odd little bird. He is convinced his job is to build nests and to sing.
On this Memorial Day weekend, I’m wondering if we should be celebrating and remembering what we are meant to be doing. I have just finished a manuscript on hearing the voice of God and discerning what He is saying.
I was introduced this weekend to a man from Trinidad. It took us a bit to find each other’s vocal rhythms. He heard that I was a writer. He wanted to know what I write about, so I told him about my latest book on Abraham. After I talked for a while, he asked me what conclusion I came to—about Abraham. I didn’t have a quick answer. Lots of question about the first Hebrew, but I wasn’t looking for a conclusion as if I were writing a thesis that needed a proven conclusion. I just wanted to know how Abram and individual family members heard the voice of God and choose to follow Him—obey.
For over a year, I’ve studied, prayed, read books and Scripture and asked questions. What should we be about? The assumption is adamant: We are called to do what Jesus did. The question asked many times in many ways: how do we access the instruction, hear guidance to specific places and people and how do we utilize the unique Holy Spirit power for this age?
Several writers and speakers have been speaking into me about what Followers of Jesus are to be about. Secular writer, Dr. Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules of Life, seems to me, is God’s voice to the general population of the Western Culture and the generations now alive. His message has rattled many, angered many more and stimulated many of us to say, “hmmm!” Another Canadian, Bruce Alexander, wrote Globalization of Addiction, in which he virtually says, cut off the market for drugs and you will stop the flow. What I have heard from the book sounds like many of the basic principles of family, faith, community, interaction and devotion to calling.
Pastor Bill Johnson’s book, Hosting the Presence, and his teaching has prodded me for several months. He pastors Bethel Church in Redding, California. I have been remembering and seeking ways to re-member Kingdom life. (His two books mentioned here are strong enough to request your attention.)
Pastor Johnson has written with Randy Clark. Their book, The Essential Guide To Healing, stirs memories of Jesus commission of all disciples and the work He did that we desperately need in 2018 and beyond. Given biblical illiteracy, “nones” dominating those being asked which faith-view belongs to them and absence of God’s activity visible to the majority of three generations, nothing less than a radical, drastic and dramatic spiritual awakening will gain attention. Nothing less than an awakening that leads to revival and evangelism of ethnic groups and nations will speak to the destructive elements at work in our culture, families and institutions. The gifts of healing, knowledge, wisdom, leadership and deliverance are basic to the new that must come.
Memorial Day impacted me. To recall that 23,000 Americans died in one day at the Battle of Antietam—also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg (Maryland) Civil War. One-half the number we lost in the entire Korean War—died in one day on American soil—12 hours!
Memorial Day for me has not been to think about what once happened or what used to be, but honoring and celebrating and remembering the values, principles, infrastructure and foundations that are central to Jesus’ Kingdom today and what the Kingdom is about and what Jesus’ followers are called to be now, today in our current civil war. There are many more slaves in the 2018 world than in 1862.
Like the little bird—announcing to the world—we are re-membering what has been rent.
©2018 D. Dean Benton firstname.lastname@example.org