In reflecting upon 2016 and its omni-directional political and social tumult, I’ve repeatedly lamented the apparent scarcity of trustworthy pundits and media outlets. I don’t know which “authorities" to trust, which leaves me having to choose between two lousy options (another 2016 theme): either I refuse to move, or I am misled. Either I remain blissfully ignorant, or I stumble along behind whichever peabrain jabbers most articulately.
Thankfully, through the writings of Saint Augustine, God reminded me that Christians have a third option—or rather, a calling. We follow a Leader who is wisdom incarnate, and we are blessed to have His holy Word accessible to us 24/7 on the very same devices we use to share fake news. In his Confessions, Augustine grieves the degree to which his own thoughts and opinions are subject to the thoughts and opinions of others:
See where the helpless soul lies prostrate that is not yet sustained by the stability of truth! Just as the breezes of speech blow from the breast of the opinionated, so also the soul is tossed this way and that, driven forward and backward, and the light is obscured to it and the truth not seen. And yet, there it is in front of us (4.23).
Without the stability of God’s truth, my own thoughts and opinions are chaff in the wind. If political tumult sends me reeling, more than anything, I need to repent. After all, were I truly rooted in the Word of God, I might learn to see the nations raging from His eternal perspective, from His holy perch. “As the breezes of speech blow from the breast of the opinionated,” the people of God can stand firm as we continue to pursue truth and biblical wisdom. Christians are not "post-truth" (Oxford’s Word of the Year). We have Jesus as our trustworthy pundit.
At first, that may not seem practically helpful. But isn’t it?
Let’s make 2017 the year Christians learn again to share their lives with one another, not just their opinions. Let’s place open Bibles on dining room tables, alongside good food and good drink, and love one another until our world is healed. Praise God that He so graciously shakes our confidence in the kingdoms of man! "For our stability, when it is in [God], is stability indeed” (4.31).