In some ways, there is no going back. This is why I warn readers that, while we do have an obligation to understand the Ancient Near Eastern culture so that we can understand the Bible, we cannot go back and reclaim that world as our own. God’s Word warns about this, that things will get farther and farther from Eden until His Son returns. On the one hand, we strive to grasp the nature of what we have lost. On the other hand, we take responsibility for the hard work of making the most of what’s left against things that will only go forward.
No one can provide you with some universal answer as to what mixture of things ancient and modern is appropriate. Each of us must push ahead within our own calling from God and trust Him for things we need to swallow versus things we should fight. And even the fighting has nothing to do with some expectation of victory, but we fight because it’s our duty. Failure is an option because our driver is obedience, not some human vision of success.
So, for example, I hate the influence of EMF from all of this electronic gear, but it is my calling to sit in front this computer every day. This keyboard is my sword. The Internet is my theater of operations. This networking stuff is not going to go away, and for me to obey faithfully means enduring the EMF and praying God will keep me safe from anything that could threaten the mission. It’s not good for me, but my flesh is nailed to the Cross for His glory. This is the paradox of faith.
We operate on multiple levels of moral awareness. Things are not black versus white; that’s an old lie of binary logic that seeks to put our minds on the throne. Nor is it gray, but this world is a rainbow of wild moral coloration. It’s not morally evil to juggle competing valuations of any particular thing, because the heart-mind does not reason in binary linear logic. Your faith and obedience to your calling will be the key to what you decide in any given context about anything God places before you. Today’s sin is tomorrow’s righteousness, and vice-versa, on a wide range of things because contexts vary. The experience of human tension is a necessity in our fallen existence.
We know that this world is trapped in materialism. We can understand that the only difference between socialism and fascism (and any other “ism”) is who gets the loot. Fascism is just socialism with a nationalist flair. In the US, we are up against globalist socialism, versus neocon dreams of global hegemony, and versus nationalist fascism as the major competing forces in politics right now. The latter is going to dominate in the near future, never mind who holds what office. That is equally likely in several other Western nations, as well. Despite our sure awareness that fascism is evil, we had better understand it well enough to exploit the loopholes for our Father’s glory.
We had better understand some measure of technocracy and cyber warfare, because most of us will have no other means of fellowship in this heart-led faith. The US is extremely vulnerable to cyber warfare, should someone take an interest in harming us. Given how much we have provoked just about every other nation state in this world, it’s just a matter of time before someone figures out how to use it to their advantage. Be ready for that kind of tribulation.
One of the strangest ways of blending ancient and modern that I’ve faced lately is a fresh emphasis on wordless communication. In ancient times, wordless consideration was provoked through parables. Words were used to paint a dramatic moment, a sort of “you were there” kind of experience. But that required being there in the flesh with the narrator; the language and the proximity with the speaker were essential elements we no longer have. This is why movies and TV are so captivating, even as the technology works against our heart-minds. English writing does not lend itself to that very well. Against this, we know that the ancients did not have our powerful imaging technology. Our society today is highly visual compared to the ancients.
How would they have used it? I’m sure there is no one answer to that. Indeed, I’m not sure my mind will ever understand how it works. On the one hand, moving pictures are dangerous to our awareness in their current form, and I prefer still images. But I am determined to explore this avenue and see what happens. This is behind my promise to prepare myself for a strong emphasis on photography here on this blog. It was a growing emphasis before the bicycle collision, and now it’s a very conscious effort. Somewhere between mere artsy expression and a genuine miracle of faith reaching across the network, I’m hoping to find ways to keep this fellowship alive through that medium.
God has called us together for a reason; that’s how His Kingdom works. We each contribute something to heart-led growth of this body. We will need that kind of comfort and support during this time of tribulation.