Onpoint Ministries International
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Onpoint Ministries International
Feel the Bern
One of the most astonishing revelations of the past election cycle was the rise of Bernie Sanders. At first he was regarded as little more than cannon fodder, grist to the mill as my old uncle Henry used to say; chaff to be chewed up and spit out by the well-oiled mega machine that was Hillary Clinton, the royal heir apparent to the DNC dynasty. As time went by though it became increasingly more obvious to all that this “bug” was going to be a lot more difficult to squash than previously thought. Had the Clinton campaign missed something or had they simply underestimated this aging Senator form the great state of Vermont? Something in English parlance was definitely amok. In terms of the whole election it seemed that someone had rolled up the campaign play book and tossed it out the window. Nothing was as it should be; it was going to be a no-holds-barred “dog fight” to the end on both sides. If Trump upstaged everyone, Sanders wasn’t far behind with a full ensemble parade of his own, fanfare included. He was not going “quietly into that good night”. In an election contest based more on who could be the least loathsome rather than who could excel, the stage was set for the white-haired, slightly balding, stooped figure with the fiery rhetoric and no-nonsense approach. Let me be clear that I think that many of the issues that Sanders supports like late-term abortion and the other “social issues” are reprehensible, despicable and unconscionable, but as a phenomenon he was fascinating.
We all know that the democratic process to become the presidential nominee is loaded from the off. The superdelegates take care of that. The system is rigged so that the democratic hierarchy can control the selection of its candidates. It is like taking the sports field in soccer to play a team that at the end of the contest is then awarded seven extra goals regardless of the final score at the end of the ninety minutes. It was for Sanders a forlorn hope from the beginning. Even the DNC was against him, rooting and rallying for their pastel “pantsuited” leader who like the hare dismissed the old tortoise completely. In fact, the propensity of the Clinton campaign to coast, along with the staggering arrogance of assumption, that permeated the entire process. It was a colossal lesson in complacency believing they could mobilize the African American vote as Obama had done. They seriously underestimated their opponent and the country. The problem for Hillary was that she wasn’t African American or a junior Senator from Illinois. Oblivious to her own unpopularity, she bet the Washington townhouse on the fact that Trump was even more unpopular than she was. How could he not be, he was as unlike a politician as anyone could get and even less a statesman. He put his foot in his mouth at every opportunity and committed what would for anyone else be political suicide on a regular basis.
Sanders was another story, and here in lies the key. For in the aging Senator, the Clinton campaign really should have seen the writing on the wall but as all politically myopic protagonists do when they feel assured of victory, they missed it completely. Only in America could Sanders be vilified as a socialist. In fact Fox News went so far as to brand him a communist which of course he wasn’t. To most Europeans observing, it was mildly amusing to watch Fox go into meltdown over Sander’s self-styled Bolshevism. What was fascinating was the groundswell of support Sanders received from a surprising demographic. The vast majority of his support came from millennials and the younger generation; they rallied to his cause in droves. The mass abandonment of the Democratic establishment personified by Hillary was a cultural shift in and of itself. What was it about this white-haired Senator that energized the myriad of youth flocking to his standard?
The answer is two-fold and intriguing. Firstly, he appealed to these young liberals in the area of social justice, not just the cosmetic veneer of thinly disguised welfare but on a much deeper level. His genuine passion to see universal healthcare resonated with these scions of America’s future. He really did want to close the gap between the “haves” and “have nots”. They refused to be bamboozled by the political rhetoric, the antiquated platitudes of an entrenched elite dictating government policy without any sense of reality. They refused to drink the “kool aid” dispensed by the party hacks, laced with party political opiates aimed at anesthetizing the masses into a dull stupor. Washington had become, and still is to a great extent, the epicenter for regaling the “Emperor’s New Clothes”. This generation of liberal Democrats had become immune to the “oohs” and “ahhs” of the DNC’s political establishment as Sanders alerted everyone to the naked truth of Washington politics as usual. These young liberals were beginning to zero in on the realities of thirty million people without health insurance, inner city poverty, nationalized education, the exposure of Wall Street and the corporate greed that feeds the class system and propagates the social strata of America. Sanders became the voice of the poor and the oppressed challenging the elitism and class system of a socially disenfranchised country. The lib dem youth recognized in Sanders a voice of authenticity. He was genuine, genuinely wrong to many people, but there was no disputing that he truly believed what he was saying and was willing to count the cost. In a political system that is seen to be disingenuous, the fact that one man stands out as authentic reflects just how much authenticity and social justice resonate with the millennial generation.
Why is this important? Because it reveals an exciting truth to those of us who follow Jesus Christ. To the true believers who regard God’s word as inspired and containing His redemptive plan of history, we understand that the world operates by God’s timetable and that we are moving toward the end times scenario outlined in the Bible. It is clear that things will not get better as man continues his relentless agenda of self-aggrandizement and social and cultural engineering. The humanist agenda propagated by the lib left has no place for the God of the Bible. Theirs is an ecumenical religion, an amalgam of all faiths based on human achievement and not on divine accomplishment. It is man’s thinking, not God’s.
In Matthew 12 just after Peter’s declaration that Christ is “the Son of the living God”, Christ informs the disciples He will be going to Jerusalem to die. Peter objects and is sternly rebuked by Christ with these words “for you think as men think and not God”, and so it is in these days and the days to come. This however is the generation to which we have been called to share the gospel, the truth of Christ. The world is looking for truth in a plethora of lies. People are desperately searching, as the Sanders followers did, for authenticity and want those who name Christ to be authentic and thus validate the message. They also want to see action. Social justice is important and should be manifest through ministry as Christ did when he met the physical needs of the people. We, the church, must become the conduits of grace and truth through meeting felt needs, for in so doing we validate our words and reach a dying world. We can no longer afford to sit in our holy huddles. The context for the Christian life as God intended it to be is not the church or the Bible study or home groups or Christian schools. It is the world and into it we must go willingly and excitedly to share the truth that will free the souls of men and counter the darkness arrayed against us. This is our time, as the days grow darker, to shine. For if not now, when, and if not us, who?