Category Archives: nationalists

2021: Hopeful Realism for the Year Ahead

It is my delight and honor to work for Made to Flourish, A Pastors Network for the Common Good (www.madetoflourish.org). Our mission is to help pastors and their churches integrate faith, work and economic wisdom for the flourishing of their communities. We have the honor of presenting ideas, fostering relationships, and sharing practices that will help local churches thrive. We do this with a set of values that guide our efforts. One of these values is “hopeful realism.” We believe that the Risen Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit and willing agency of God’s people, offers substantive hope that we can see redemptive progress in the world. This hope is tempered by the realism of a sinful, broken world.

In this spirit of hopeful realism, I offer the following observations about the coming year in proverbial form and look forward to many discussions with readers in the months ahead.

Hope: America voted toward the middle and the extremisms of white nationalism and woke socialism do not guide the values and visions of most people.

Realism: Even with a majority of Americans in the middle, it is the loudest voices of influence that often wield power and alertness is called for in this moment.

Hope: The Middle East is realigning as Israel and several Sunni Arab nations recognize that Iran is a threat to all, and economic and military alliances are in their best interests.

Realism: The enemies of the Jewish state are many. They include progressives within Israel and in the West. If a new Administration opens the door to unqualified Palestinian influences, the gains of the past four years could be lost.

Hope: Churches and charities has risen to the COVID moment and will continue to be a source of generosity and innovation in the year ahead.

Realism: Many organizations will need to change or find themselves closing their doors. This includes churches and charities that do not adapt to the economics and sociology of this moment.

Hope: The creativity and innovation afforded by the crises of our time are bringing new relationships, new opportunities, and humbling many who we enslaved by complacency and pride. People are reaching out across cultural, ecclesial and racial divides and finding common cause in helping all have access, equity, and opportunity.

Realism: Agitation propagandists and groups designed to “organize” do not want peaceable debate and principled compromise. They will continue to call for radical changes unwanted by most but demanded by shrill voices who make the exception the rule and continually create new victims.

I remain hopeful because I believe in the goodness and power of God and in the potential of every person who will submit their lives to Christ. I remain a realist because we are in a broken, sinful world and people operate out of their lower, sinful nature far too often. My final hope can be expressed this way: May God grant an awakening that revives the church and reforms society, overflowing to justice for all. As I express this, realism kicks in and I know that great good is often the product of much suffering. We have tumultuous days ahead, and we can be at peace if we will trust our Sovereign God.

Agitation Propaganda: Projection and Subversion

In my writing, I aim for civil, principled conversation across ideological, political, and religious boundaries, respecting differences and aiming for consensus where possible. I am grateful for the many who join me (often with far greater eloquence and influence) in such peacemaking. But I would be remiss not to expose two tactics of the enemies of freedom: projection and subversion. These are the twin towers of agitation propaganda (known as “agitprop”) and have flourished for a century in communist and fascist societies. (One note here: the extreme Left (communist) and extreme Right (fascist) differ in some particulars but share similar roots of totalitarian control over people and societies, along with philosophies favoring particular groups [Party members or a particular race] over others.)

Projection is when one group accuses another of the very actions they are doing themselves. For example, a group of students, in the name of freedom and safety, calls for the firing of a professor that disagrees with their philosophies. Another form of projection is deflection: when individuals or groups ignore difficult questions and merely repeat their slogans. For example, a pro-choice activist was asked what she thought of recent remarks by her governor concerning his support of late term abortion and even infanticide (“Make the baby comfortable while the mother and physician decide what is best.”). Rather than answering with revulsion, support, or even a nuanced middle ground, the activist just shouted, “You want to deprive women of their access to healthcare and return to the days of the coat hanger.” This happened four times as the question was repeated. Religious adherents are declared intolerant when they refuse to support alternative lifestyles contrary to their tradition. This is projection – for the accuser is her or himself intolerant of the religious point of view (or wants it confined to private spaces!).

Subversion appears as the true agendas of groups are revealed. White nationalists and Nation of Islam adherents want to subvert the Bible, the Constitution, and a positive history of improving race relations and create completely segregated nations. Many Marxists are happy to use capitalistic and democratic means to achieve communalistic and undemocratic ends. They also combine projection and subversion when they accuse some of their own of not being revolutionary enough! Such was the case in the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions, where millions died for not being radical enough. Think about these historical illustrations:

  • The Nazis burn the Reichstag (parliament) building, blame the communists, and use it as an excuse to kill and imprison thousands (projection and subversion).
  • Lenin spoke of his need for capitalistic “useful idiots” to fund his revolution (subversion).
  • Closer to home, “Rules for Radicals” author Saul Alinsky advocates to creating chaos and dissatisfaction (subversion) and making sure no other peaceful solutions get in the way the radical agenda.
  • Radical Islam promotes deception and temporary truces with opponents as part of the long play for domination (subversion). Anyone who does not honor their Prophet is pronounced a blasphemer and subject to severe penalty, even as they claim victimhood status (projection).
  • And today, several extremist groups in the USA are calling for an end to nuclear family, and end to free enterprise, and overturning particular religious influences (subversion), as well as declaring all their opponents’ oppressors (projection).

May we examine our hearts and choose advocacy over mere accusation and acceptance of complexity over childishness. Let’s keep projection and subversion far away as we pursue peace and justice.