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  Belief in God and Democracy 
  Four Wise Steps
    The First Step
    The Second Step
    The Third Step
    The Fourth Step
  A New Life in Christ
 
Belief in God and Democracy
 
When public belief in God is extinguished, a light and a hope in a democracy go out. This is happening now. Mankind, that is the electorate, has been reduced in definition to mere apes without a divine spark within, mere animals lacking souls that proclaim a hint of mysterious divinity hidden within. Any hope of a source of divine wisdom in the voting masses is being eradicated. Things are down to animals voting.

This is what the secularists and brutal non-spiritual materialists of today
are doing and are trying to use the techniques of democracy to do:
extinguish the assurance of that higher nature in mankind that a democracy needs to function best. For even common sense tells what is expected of people is what you will get. If people are viewed as mere apes without souls, you will ultimately get the behavior of apes. From people you receive your expectations.

When mere apes vote, what do you have then but animals voting? If man is not to be a child of God, why vote - to get a consensus of apes? What good does that do? If the dogs could vote, they would vote to kill the cats. They would follow their feelings. It would be the thing to do. A
slaughter of innocent cats would follow.

If people see themselves only as animals, they will unashamedly do what they as animals feel they should do. They will vote like the dogs to kill the cats. And why should a dog be ashamed to vote that way? If man is only an animal, an ape, why should he be expected to be other than he is? Why should he not do as animals feel? What you see yourself as, you will be. We know what the materialists wish us to see man as.

As long as there is a belief in a divine spark in mankind, as long as there is a belief in a soul within individuals, there is a hope of a higher level in voting. If there is felt to be a hint of reasoning divine love from God latent in the souls of the people that gather to vote, to seek and to look for wisdom of the over-soul, then there is more hope for democracy. But there must be a suspicion of some divine reasoning as well as spiritual reasoning available in mankind above and beyond the low, raw brutality and selfish materialism of an animal in order for any hope of any real meaning: when we ask the children of God to poll the spark of God within them and to vote their consciences.

Now the voters may not vote the divine spark or their souls within. In
fact, they may not vote at all. History certainly affirms bad voting,
apathy, dumb materialism and lack of conscience. But the possibility of an appeal beyond animal materialism to something higher in mankind is there as long as belief in the soul or the belief we are the children of God is there. There is nothing but the animal instincts to appeal to.

But if the voters see themselves as mere animals, they will vote as they
feel and see themselves. People, like children, will be what they see
themselves as and that is usually what they have been taught to see
themselves as. They must first and foremost see themselves mirrored in God. This is not only for the good of the public but the good of themselves. This is a great reason why God is needed: that people may see themselves first in His image.

If asked to be and to vote as a child of God, might you not vote or be
different than otherwise? If asked to vote as a mere ape on earth created by an accident in a chancy universe, would you not also vote to kill the cats, then shrug it off and say, “Well, that’s the way we animals do. When among animals, be an animal. When in Rome, do as the Romans. What do you expect of mere animals? After all we view ourselves scientifically.”

I suggest this to you for your edification. If science tries to rule out
non-scientific and spiritual thinking, it is dogmatic and not truly
scientific. If religion tries to rule out non-religious thinking, it is
dogmatic, and therefore, as bigoted as the secular pseudo-scientists today are trying to be.

Sacred writings figuratively remind us there are Twelve Gates To The City of God, and all must be open as options to enter and exit from whatever direction you come and you go. If you go in by one gate, there is no reason why you cannot exit by another gate.
Some go in the scientific gate and leave by the religious gate.
The people you have to watch are not the ones coming and going through the different gates but the people who want to shut the gates. Such is the secularized and materialistic attempt today to shut the gate of faith and to erase the names of God inscribed upon it.

We live in a country and time mildly against Christianity, and for this we
should thank our God in Jesus Christ that it is no longer an easy thing to be a Christian. We can no longer live on cheap grace. We must now stand up as Christians and stand out to serve God.

It is time to take up our crosses as Christians as we should have been doing for years past. We can no longer be mediocre, blind and blend-in
Christians. This bids for a better, deeper and more spiritual church and a better community.

But particularly is this a time not only mildly anti-Christian but very
strongly anti-evangelical, anti-Protestant and not anti-but simply ignoring the Bible. We are blessed to be here to suffer the slanders the remarks and the discomfiture. So did they the prophets and the faithful conservatives before us.

We should thank our God in Jesus Christ that we have been given grace to be in the number of conservatives spoken ill of in conventionally sick secular circles. (Nor, I must say, are many Roman Catholic comrades in Christ having an easy time of if either.) We need to recall in earlier American times Christians were the making of the country, and they shall have to be the saving of it now. Christians were the yeast in the dough and the leaven in the bread. This is their challenge again.

Christian witness is much needed in this amoral country where public belief in God is being challenged. It is a land seemingly on the way down economically as well as spiritually and in many other ways. It should be noted that the middle class has gone downhill, behaving today as the lower class used to yesterday, in illegitimacy, abortion, crime and the quality of manners and life.

But what can we expect from a secularized mass who accepted a
pseudo-scientific view of themselves as mere apes created by chance? They have not any soul or belief to dignify them, so there you have them: doing what they feel which is about on the level of the dogs following their animal and unredeemed nature and feeling their problem is the existence of cats. Over many a dead cat stands a dog who followed his feelings. The same may be said of now. This is a dark, confused and sense-lacking time to live. It is a hard time to live rightly.

But we should not expect God to send us an easy time to live. Not now or in times past has God used us, His people, His Chosen, for easy work. Believers today should not expect an easy time for they are expected by Him to go beyond an easy Zion, a so-so and comfortable Christianity, and a Pepsi-Cola advertisement youth.

No, I maintain that by grace all of us have been called to this time. Where you are is where God has a work for you. When you are is when God has a special work for you. No, through grace you have been seen, and by seeing you have been called. It is by grace you are here on earth at this time. Through grace you have been called. That means when you see and then can realize the evil of a situation, you have been called to do something about it.

Have you been enlightened that God might waste light? You have been given, as Jesus said, eyes to see, ears to hear, and are therefore called to do. “When your eyes shall be opened, ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) He who sees good and evil must do.

Does not sight and light, that is grace given to you, imply seeing and
knowing how and where to go and what to do? You are obligated to make use of the sight and light called “grace” that God has given you on any situation, even one that you will first think you have stumbled on, but I will suggest for your spiritual consideration that God has led you. But how you got where you are does not really matter. It’s what you do in the time and place you are in that counts.

I suggest much work is before you and that you have been called to do that which has been revealed to you by everyday grace. This is why you were born: an opportunity for spiritual grace. This is why you were born: an opportunity for spiritual growth. As a presently looked down on EVANGELICAL PROTESTANT, YOU MAY CHOOSE TO SHARE THE GLORY OF GOD WHICH IS SUFFERING FOR GOODNESS WITH HIM THAT YOU MAY HELP OTHERS, “KNOWING THAT SUFFERING PRODUCES ENDURANCE AND ENDURANCE PRODUCES CHARACTER. (ROMANS 5:3-4 RSV)”

The production of CHARACTER IS WHAT IS MUCH and DESPERATELY NEEDED TODAY in this nation and this world. CHARACTER IS THE OXYGEN OF ANY SOCIAL LIFE.
Trust needs it to breathe. Trust is needed for any social effort to work:
family, church, community or nation. People trust only where there is
character.

True and honest CHARACTER in the old-fashioned sense of honesty and virtue must be re-found or the country shall die gasping for decency and trust and God as it is now gasping.

This is a great second reason why God is needed in a democracy: Belief in His existence produces character, and without character neither the community, the church, the family or the nation will last long or be successful. Trust demands virtue, honesty and all those aspects of character that allow people to lean and to trust. Churches build character and teach faith or trust.

What is rarer now in our communities than finding a person of strong and honest character who can be trusted? This is a rare thing now, whereas it used to be common. What is rarer than that? Finding a group of people who will take a stand for God and His righteousness and be prepared to suffer the rocks thrown by the socially disapproving, the merely conventional, and the vast morally mediocre mob? But what can you expect from a pathetic mob of persons who think of themselves as simply apes.

We Christians, who dare to think of ourselves as more than mere animals, should dare more. We must dare to do more ourselves than we expect of others. Can those with souls to save do less?
 
 
Four Wise Steps
 
There is no quick and easy path to spiritual development.
But I find spiritual development may be aided by my four wise steps.
Anyone can manage them.
And often I repeat them.

Take twenty minutes or any amount of time you like,
To have a quiet time of prayer and thought each day.
Pray for the right attitude and spiritual success in this venture.
Then think or meditate or apply it in the time you have each day.
Make a regular daily time for your quiet inside dwelling,
Make it one subject one day at a time, one step a day,
Observing these things quietly and with prayer.

 
The First Step
 
Learn to observe and watch yourself pass by.
With firm detachment think on yourself fairly.
Consider these questions:
How do people see you?
How do you see yourself?
Is the way you see yourself what you really are?
When you must live an image, do you face it as an image and not reality?
When you are genuine, do others see you to be real?
Are you working and living for what only you want?
Or do you consider fairly what God or others have a claim to?
Are you capable of being a moral thinking mind or are you all put-on mask?
Is your hand genuine when it reaches out?
Do you work on how to develop spiritually?
Do you know all the views passing weekly inside your head and heart?
There are usually ten people and three souls inside you,
Of these, is there anyone inside who is pro-God?
Can you argue inside yourself and still be kind?
Can you accept your sinful part of self the way God does?
That is with love, humor and perspective?
When you play your roles in life: mother, father, daughter, student, son,
Can you change them quickly as you should so as not to hurt others?
How do you direct the play you now perform that began as your life?
In any pinch or shortage, Can you and God make do?
 
The Second Step
 
Take care, the next step is more dangerous.
You have to develop a will and the good habits that proceed from having one.
Some psychologists may just tell you to do what feels good.,
And that’s certainly okay at times,
But a lot of time what God wants you to do,
Isn’t what you think you’d like to do from any standpoint at all.
If you know what you ought to do,
And do not do it, that is sin,
According to the Apostle to the Gentiles.
But if you see a possible sin,
And you refrain from it,
That’s grace and willpower,
The key and the engine of faith.

So you need to teach yourself the art of forming godly habits.
You need to learn to make yourself start,
Whatever you need to do,
Then make a habit of it,
Whether you always like it or not.
If it’s forming a good habit,
Or refraining from a bad habit,
Or doing a single thing you are putting off,
Because you don’t really want to do it,
You need this step two: Cultivating the will to do.

Remember that when you begin at anything,
Whatever you decide on,
You will be clumsy and people may laugh at you.
So what? Pray for the grace to laugh at yourself with them.
If you persevere, keep on, don’t quit, endure, pray every day,
Fight the good fight, hold fast to the bull now taken bravely by the horns.
Practice will slowly but really improve you.
Soon you may be good at it,
Then when you are good at it,
You will enjoy doing it
When you enjoy it, you will want to do it,
You will not dread or put it off any longer.
You will have conquered your fear as well as moral laziness.
You will have learned how to drive,
Seeing how to take the wheel of your life now..
And if you will check up on the good efforts of others in a friendly,
praising way,
You may see in yourself a birth of true leadership.
You will understand how Christian soldiers go onward.
 
The Third Step
 
Meditate on the glorious grace of God,
His sacrifice on the cross, His love,
His accessibility, His divine creation in nature and the universe,
The wonders of His love,
As the Christmas hymn says.
After all, life is like a Christmas gift from God,
Who out of joy and mercy is sharing it with us.

Yes, there are bad things in life and difficult times,
But I know few who wish to give life up,
Also, there is a second life after this one we are living,
We have great hopes of it.
So consider God..
To get a fairer perspective on things and a better attitude.

I always chuckle at those who say,
Life is so bad, sad and runny nosed,
So I always tease and say, “Then give it up.”
Then they look at me and say, “No thank you.”
Which means they just want to stay here to whine and complain.
I’m not at all for that.
If I am going to be, I’d like to be affirming something.
Not a soured stomach who can’t digest the universe,
Or a diseased mind that succumbed to abstractions and died.
No thanks, God is too real for me for that.
Let Him be real to you.

Get your mind off yourself,
And on to a spiritual way of looking that can transcend,
Glorifying in the Maybe Of Things.
The creation is full of life and God’s glory spilling over.
The God who created us and redeemed us,
And is ever with us, by our side.
Is who we should think upon that we may live in grace and service,
Then die in hope as we should.
 
The Fourth Step
 
The first step is studying and seeing ourselves for how we are as we go by,
The second step is creating in ourselves a will that enables us to create and do,
The third step in glorying in God that we may live on the healthy side of things,
To dare, to gain the strength to serve, to redeem the way sad things are..
The fourth step is to think on how we can serve God or others applying the truths
We have thought on and what grace we have received in doing it.
Good thoughts prime the pump of grace.
After all, there are things that everyone can do.
We may not be able, as the Apostle was, everything to all,
But we can be something to someone.

There are days when all I seem to see are people needing Good Samaritans,
While a busy profit-making world goes rushing by, selfish as can be;
Sometimes I think of placing a mourning wreath upon my door,
And if passers-by ask me who died,
I will say “Kindness,
Once she was alive here, but is no more.”

Have pity on us Gracious Lord,
Christ in some form is at our door most every day.
But He is seen as poor and lacking, the door is slammed, the city’s busy life goes on:
Selfish, bitter, hostile, paranoid and mean,
There is a short supply of pity in the self-aggrandizing cities,
That now stretch to make one long and loud discordant land,
Where freedom and goodness may well be talked about,
But it is only small talk, you can believe that,
Because where people are as mean and cold as they’ve now become,
Freedom cannot thrive, for where goodness is not,
There can be no freedom either..
The one is needed to pull the other as an engine does a train.
It is a strange illogical thought:
That a people lacking goodness can live together peacefully in freedom.
There is no way.
In such a depraved society as we now live,
During this newer and more corrupt time of terrible spiritual decadence.
Older, better and simpler ways are vanished, gone or going,
Decency lies dead; the T.V. displays this everyday.
The best hope we have lies in re-creating faith and goodness,
The method here may help you as it did me,
If it does not, try another;
If it does work, remember others may have the same needs as you.
 
 
A New Life in Christ
 
When I say that we need real change in the churches today, I find nearly everyone superficially agrees. But the moment I say, “Change,” it seems to be the magic word for nice people with views I can’t believe are real to come rushing out. Some of them have far out views that are so way out that I am floored. They can’t wait to tell me about these views. Some of these views are taken seriously very widely and by many. Thus, you are not supposed to listen and laugh as I tend to want to do. Some examples are:

1. Eliminate traditional church doctrines. This has been very popular for
some time. One example of this is to cut the creed and eliminate the words, “virgin birth.” The virgin birth is the basis for the doctrine of the
Incarnation which tells us how God become man and dwelt on earth. It is a vital part of what the church celebrates at Christmas. Eliminating it is not at all appealing to me. It is about the level of having to tell the children of the world there is no Christmas. I don’t see how this type of change will help.

2. Change traditional Christian morals. This may be widespread but I don’t see it as helping much. While visiting in South Carolina I attended church and was told the preacher’s family was a Hollywood family. It included his kids, her kids and their kids. He had been divorced once and the preacher’s wife had been divorced twice. I understood privately from gossip that may not have been true they were considering another divorce. I don’t see how this helps, bit I felt sorry for the kids.

3. Have organizational church unions where two dying denominations merge into one big decrepit denomination. This new denomination is a testimony to show how the previous two smaller organizations were fading out faster than the Shakers. These organizational mergers also keep church bureaucrats employed. But the fight over who is going to do what, to whom, as well as who owns the church property, can run up some big legal bills and very ugly feelings for generations.

4. Change the structure of the worship service. One person wanted to
introduce the ballet into the Sunday eleven o’clock church service. Now this might work now and then. It is scriptural. The Bible records how King David clad in an ephod danced praise before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple. This might work if introduced properly at special times. They may be put off by it and surely will say the church is getting “pretty bloody la-di-dah.” But among changes commonly suggested, this is one of the few having a respectable flag of scripture to rally around and march behind. But I don’t see how would help things much.

As you may note when I say real change in the churches is necessary, odd shapes, careless thought and phantom answers tend to appear and reappear. None of the gimmicks offered above are really very helpful when the main problem in the church today is that it lacks transcendence and spiritual dimension. The changes suggested seem to me to be equally flat and totally lacking in spiritual dimension.

The solution to the tepidity of the church must be a rediscovery of our
spiritual dimensions in God. This is best done through reintroducing the
practice of interior dialogue with God. The highest thing a person can do for others is to put them in touch with God so they can work out an
awareness of God, a relationship, a dialogue and an interior life in Him,
i.e. to walk with Him.

No engineering and gimmicks: mergers, cleansings of doctrine, moral amoral changes, and organizational flim-flam will satisfy the basic cravings the people have for Christ. The wide need is for a personal knowledge of Christ. Truly Christ is not dead but sleeping in the heart of every person. There is sleeping in every heart the Lord Jesus who is but waiting to rise up and fill all selfish hearts with warmth and light if asked steadily in personal prayer.

The Apostle said in II Corinthians 5:14 “the love of Christ constraineth.”
This means that Paul had a friendship, a love for Christ, to motivate him
toward positive goals and hold him back from taking negative and
self-destructive paths. The Apostle maintained a strong spiritual interior
life, a dialogue with God, which strengthened him for life. This
transcendence, born of awareness of the Christ inside, helped to sustain him.

The Lord Jesus said in Luke 17:21 “The Kingdom of God is within you.” This means you may find God inside yourself and even see Him in others, though they may be blind to the beauty within themselves. But before you are ready to meet God, you must realize there is one, and when you know of God’s reality, you may then draw close to Him in prayer. Then He will be your friend, and you will find His comforting spiritual presence inside your heart and on your mind even if the same God is also outside and everywhere.

What do the churches need to preach? They should preach God is real, and the spiritual revolution of love inside that characterizes Christ does happen. They should preach the security felt in the spiritual discipline of an interior religious life as well as the pleasure of the personality changes Christ brings to those letting Him within.

They as responsible churches should preach the love of those banded together in Christ as well as the unselfish joy of doing for others in Christ. They should preach giving thanks for all trials, so that people may learn how to grow from the disappointments they experience. They should preach Christ and Him crucified. (I Corinthians 1:23) And when churches preach these things, the hearts will find themselves wiser in Christ than others gathered once more in some sleeping church for another Superficial Sunday.


 
 

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.