Not everyone can be a part of the movement I will propose here, but those who can will make a great difference in their own way as they dare to be silent.
In the space of time that a young person goes through high school (grades 9-12), the world will–someday–transition from a day that it tolerates and accepts people of faith, not much unlike today, to a day that the world is willing to allow for our complete removal from society. The forty-two month storm is the main impetus for that transition.
New laws will come along meant to marginalize us, but we won’t just be fighting new laws and codes. The ‘mob’ will vehemently make up for any perceived shortcomings in the legal system, and at that point it is not going to be a question of developing a record, but it is going to be a matter of safety for yourself, your family, or your property.
I suppose the storm could begin with some trifle, like it becoming a misdemeanor to say “Merry Christmas,” but after the storm has run its course it is going to be about losing one’s head for not bowing to the man and taking his mark. Much of the world is going to have a real hard time with that latter punishment unless they are desensitized to our persecution gradually over a considerable length of time.
Desensitization occurs through repeated exposure to some condition. In this case the world must largely become desensitized to seeing people punished whenever they stand up for their spiritual beliefs, especially if those beliefs are of Judeo-Christian orientation.
I realize that some must resist all manner of religious persecution or discrimination, and if you choose to do so, and especially if you are ready to face the consequences that resistance may entail, more power to you. But from my point of view, I consider the notion that the more we can resist the urge to resist, the less punishments the world will see handed out, and the less desensitized they become, thus making our prospective annihilation a little harder to pill to swallow than they would like, and thus many of them would at the end decide that it would be an act of kindness to at least give us a fighting chance to escape into the wild and endure there for a short length of time.
Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, it is the world that is deserving of sympathy as it goes through the desensitization process.
Today, the greatest calling a Christian may enjoy is what we call The Great Commission, the spread of the gospel to all nations. Some are well prepared and equipped to evangelize, and some of us not so much.
It is important to realize that not all are called to be evangelists. It is better left to those who are. I dare say that as we go through the 42 month storm, the Great Commission is going to grow increasingly more difficult to perform, and by the end of the storm it may in many respects even become impossible, (which would mean the end could then come…).
While those who are called to evangelism may be ready to meet such challenges as the storm shall bring, many others can apply their natural and spiritual talents and gifts in a direction that can also do much good.
Exploits are best accomplished by those who are working behind the scenes. People are disempowered if they become easy prey in relatively minor skirmishes in the ‘war on religion.’ Having a closeted faith may seem selfish to some, but in the long run it is people of closeted faith who will be able to pull strings and give people a little help when help is desperately needed.
The fruits of the Spirit, (love, joy, peace, faith, etc.—see Galatians 5:22,23), are not evidenced by words so much as by attitudes and behaviors. People coming to Christ will not be drawn by words men have taught us to say so much as they will be drawn by what they see, feel, and sense in our lives and in our hearts day after day. One of my favorite examples of the joy of the Lord is the story of John the Baptist, while still in the womb, stirring for joy in the presence of Mary and her unborn. I tell you that we can share a similar joy in one another’s presence without a word being spoken, when Christ the Lord is central in our lives.
Good quality can make up for lack of quantity. There are times that the stones would cry out if we kept silence. Jeremiah wanted to keep the word within, but it threatened to consume his bones like fire. When we dare to keep silent, we are aware that at some point, we may not be able to help but say something, but on that occasion it shall be notable and memorable, the sort of expression that can change lives, or at least make us feel that we were a part of something bigger than ourselves.
I suppose the trick to keeping ‘silent’ is learning what to do while not doing what men think we should be doing. As for myself I think there is much potential for a grassroots movement in the humanities. I think the world, and the liberal side of the world especially, has this idea that it owns the arts and the humanities. I think if more of us explored our natural talents just as much as our prospective spiritual talents, and we joined forces in our efforts, we could do some pretty awesome work in the world.
If we bring the fruits of the Spirit with meekness to a shared feast, wherein we could work without being overtly religious, or political, I see no reason that we could not rise above the storm and the ‘war on religion.’ And while being a part of such a silent-revival, we would potentially be there for people who want to come to Christ, who want to truly know what it is that makes us so strong and free.
As we get closer to the end the more we will see the opposites of love, joy, goodness, etc., and the more we will see coping mechanisms applied as substitutes. If you have ever been going through a tough time in life, a little reflection might show that you were notably short in one or a few of the fruits, so imagine how great the trouble must be for a society that is facing a complete desolation of all of them when that time comes at the end of the forty-two month storm.
The fruits will manifest more readily in attitudes and actions than they will in word or speech. Thus, the more we dare to refrain our speech, at least as it were used as a trivial contrivance or manifestation of those fruits, the more powerful our speech will become if and when it can no longer be contained. When we are full of the good fruit, the rocks would cry out if we longer kept silent.
The Silent University
It is probably just another of my eccentric ideas, (I do come up with those now and then), but that does not stop me from using my imagination a little and considering the possibilities. Please do not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
(For lack of a better name at the moment), imagine there was a tuition-free university, with open curriculum in the arts and humanities, self-taught and peer-reviewed, where combined efforts could spark a new renaissance. It would be open to all faiths and all orientations. The only taboos would be overtly political or religious works.
Of course if you are looking for a technical or professional career, the traditional university or vocational school is still going to be the ticket. But how many kids are spending tens of thousands and going into debt for the mere social experience of going to an elite college? And what are they really learning?
While they are distracted with political and ideological agendas, it would seem that many college students today are falling short in the sort of learning that creates harmony and accord with all men. They are not so concerned with actual learning as they are with developing “safe spaces” where they do not have to listen to ideas that contradict their own. I have heard the term “snowflakes” applied to this new cultural phenomenon, where their sensibilities are just so fragile that they cannot tolerate the sort of adversity or diversity that basically makes up the typical reality of life.
Some religious folks would call the Silent University a lukewarm idea at best, worthy of being spewed from the Lord’s mouth, and maybe they are potentially right about that. However, in a culture of increasing snowflakes, a potentially blizzard coated scene, a cold and icy landscape, even lukewarm is relatively hot, at least hot enough to see someone through to the other side of the season.
With their increasingly hostile collective blowing through the educational landscape like a merciless winter storm, imagine the sort of vacuum that would exist if everyone pulled out of their way, at least everyone who holds the sorts of ideas that the snowflakes want to be kept “safe” from hearing.
The Silent University could blow the old-school institutions out of the water, at least in a market that they think they have cornered. Although the established institutions can hand out real diplomas, the alternative Silent University can at least provide a very unique social experience to people of all ages and backgrounds, a quality experience that they can carry with them wherever they go in life. And for those who feel no inclination for personal development in the arts or humanities but would yet like to get a feel for the Silent University experience, perhaps it could include some outdoor activities or sports.
It will probably never happen on a large scale but it could at least happen with individuals or small groups as people look for something constructive to do as they attempt to avoid the storm that is foretold to be overwhelming to our ability to have open faith while in society.
Don’t Hide Your Light
Our faith does not have to show in a bumper sticker, a t-shirt, or something scriptural or spiritual that we say in public. But as we have seen with Trump haters, a t-shirt or a cap may be enough to provoke others to violence or a hate-filled rant. These things with Trump are just a small foretaste of what it may be like for Christianity (and other faiths) in the 42MS.
Don’t get me wrong. We really need people to openly support our current president, and we will always need people to give a public testimony; and I know that many people are up to the challenge, especially if they are not in extremely dangerous territory.
I guess what matters is that people are aware of the potential cost of sharing their political or spiritual beliefs in public if there is a chance that they could be put in a position where they feel so threatened that they would be immediately better off to denounce or reject their position. Rejecting or abandoning the faith is a lot less effective than keeping it in the closet to begin with.
And our light is not necessarily displayed effectively by sharing our varied and often contentious beliefs on ‘the last days.’ If I could urge people to be silent about any one thing, it is the future as we see it from our own perspective(s), which may in many cases be contrary to what the world needs to believe, and which may in fact give the world just the impetus it needs to develop the premise for the 42MS: that never again shall a major world religion bring us to the brink of global war; and if millions of Christians are living anxiously because of a “false peace” (at the conclusion of the War on Terror), then the world could rightly say that we have had a serious break from reality.
When we dare to be silent, we are getting out of the way to let the fruits of the Spirit do the main work of witnessing, and if we can no longer keep silence it will be in a setting where a real positive difference can be made in someone else’s life.
The fruits, not subject to any law, can be readily apparent in a life, even one whose faith is in the closet or an ‘underground church or synagogue.’ One who sees trouble coming and hides himself is being discreet, not losing his faith. He is moving his lamp from a place where the storm could snuff it out and into a place where people who need shelter can benefit from it.