It was late but I wasn't tired. Politics was in the air and I was watching a television debate. Brother Prior had said that it was okay for its educational value as he said we should be aware of what direction our country is going in so as to engage in intelligent conversation when we speak to those outside our little monastery. But I think Brother Prior liked the air of excitement that politics always brings with it no matter which position you took as sometimes our work here can get a bit dull.
It was with enthusiasm that I greeted Brother Lawrence. He had come out of his man cave heading for the kitchen to get his usual glass of cool water before retiring to sleep.
“Brother! Isn't it exciting, all these debates?”
“I don't want to hear one thing about it. Just don't say another word about that cursed “sport.”
“Brother! What is bothering you? Did I say something to offend you? If I did, I'm sorry.” It was obvious that I had said something wrong although I don't think so. And it is not like Brother Lawrence to be so sharp about anything; well most times anyway.
He turned and looked at me and with a nod of his head motioned me to follow him into the kitchen. I left my place before the screen and followed. The others, who had turned to listen to this new bit of entertainment turned back to the Motioning me to sit down at one of the tables Brother Lawrence took a pitcher from the refrigerator and poured himself and nice cool drink. Then he took another cup from the counter and poured another and handed it to me. With a heavy sigh Brother sat down and in silence we just sat there together.
After a short time, Brother spoke.
“I'm sorry Brother. I should not have been so sharp with you. My only defense is that politics is something that I detest but you deserve an explanation that may make you a little wiser in the process.”
“You see, once I was like you, all excited about politics, the air of power in the air. It can be very intoxicating. Growing up we had a family friend who was a very smart lawyer. He had grown up poor in Chicago. At a young age his mother left his father, his sister and himself. His father raised them to steal their own Christmas gifts because they were too poor to buy them. After living off and on with relatives he eventually joined the military and went to college on the G.I. Bill. Then he got into a very good law school and clerked for a supreme court judge. That got him a job in the state house that eventually lead to him being offered the attorney generalship of the state. But he turned it down.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Because, as he told it, he couldn't stand the politics. Oh, I know from a distance it all seems to clean and righteous, trying to help people using the power of the state, but it is nothing but clean. My friend was just too clear a thinker to sacrifice his beliefs in the name of politics.”
“But Brother, someone must fill those positions and why not a believer? We should try to make our nation a Christian nation shouldn't we. Then we will be helping people to be good Christians.”
“My dear boy.” I could tell that this conversation was very trying to Brother Lawrence for some reason and I didn't know why. He is after all one of the most Christian Brother here yet now he seemed to be implying that he didn't want others to live “Christianly” if there is such a word.
“Since we are quite close and I do want to spare you a fool's errand, I'll try to face my fears and attempt to explain why I don't trust politics, politicians and especially those who want to turn this country into a “Christian” nation. This will be too brief as I've had years to study on this very subject but I'll “cut to the chase” as one of our other Brothers says.”
“Throughout recorded History, you will find there are very few nations who don't view themselves as religious. But that is only good for those of that particular religious belief and not so good for anyone not of that belief. Religion has been used to solidify power and to justify all kinds of horrendous actions. In trying to make sense of this I have come up with a couple of conclusions.”
Humans make laws to control behavior that harms others. But human laws are only so powerful and can only be given by other humans, or taken away or changed by these same humans. But on the other hand, laws made by God cannot be changed unless God changes them. The trouble begins when humans believe they can enforce God's laws.”
“But is that not what we Religious do, Brother?”
“Alas, some think so but I believe it is our job to merely help others to understand what God's laws are for and to help those who wish to follow them. I know for myself that I need all the encouragement I can get to follow them and I've been at this a long time I can tell you and I'm afraid sometimes I don't do a very good job of it but then I only have to answer to God for my actions in this area and the God I know is not only strict but also merciful as only God can be. The trouble lies in that humans are not God.”
“Why of course they aren't and they don't pretend to be.”
“That is where you are wrong Brother. That is exactly what they want to be. It is in their veritable DNA. It is told us in the story of Creation, about the cause of all Sin. We think we know better than God on how we should live life in this world no matter that the Creator knows how it is set up better then we. But going even further back, to a time before humans, when the created beings in Heaven, God's throne-room, rebelled against Him for want of trying to take over God's rulership. The most beautiful angel of them all decided he was ready to be God and rebelled and lost and a third of the angels were cast down upon our world to rule here instead of in Heaven. Jesus himself acknowledge Satan's authority here on earth. Jesus never desired to set up his kingdom here on Earth. He said he would come again to rule a new Heaven and a new Earth. Even the great Jewish nation of Israel feared the loss of their power by Rome and condemned Jesus to death. These were good, devout men who did this; God's chosen race.
“You see Brother, if you give to someone the power to rule a nation in the name of God, they can easily see themselves in the seat of God Himself. Oh, the horror of that. Straight from the heart of Satan himself does that come from.”
“Are you saying that a Christian Nation is really ruled by Satan?”
“In a way yes, I am because to call a human construction by God's name borders on blasphemy and to rule that kingdom in the name of God is tantamount to placing a human on God's throne, bringing down Heaven to Earth, and I will NOT be a part of that. God help us all if that happens again.”
“Oh, it has happened many times in the past. But always it has been by humans with limited power. But now with the power to annihilate an entire planet, it sends shivers down my spine just thinking of it.”
“Now Brother, this country has been led by many Christians in the past and we are still here. They have all proven themselves worthy of their positions and have done their best to help other people.”
“Yes, there have been and maybe I am too much into seeing the bad potential in the present. But it would be far more comforting for me to see a country built on human laws by human beings, guided by the best of their beliefs, ruled by humans who try their best as God gives them the ability to see that best course, them to claim a country is established by God and ruled by God's regent.”
“Brother, if you see that happening, or when you see that happening according to some's interpretation of the revelations of prophets, then go into your man cave and pray for all your worth so you may remain faithful to your vows.” “Brother, you are scaring me. All I was doing is watching some political debates and now you are speaking of the end of the world.”
“Yes, well maybe I have had some revelations myself that I don't quite understand so I would appreciate it if you would not mention this unless I say it is appropriate for the situation. Those here are special in their experiences and abilities and they are the only ones trustworthy enough to understand. Each also has their own burdens to bear and that is why we are here in this place, at this moment in time, to help each other forward in our lives before God.”
At that he got up and went into his own man cave where he would remain with his God for the night and in the morning arise, prepared to face the world and his own 'demons” as we all shall.