It may seem strange to hear, and I feel strange for saying it, but Rod Dreher’s ‘Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents’ was a breath of fresh air to me.
Perhaps all the glazed looks I have gotten over the years when talking about creeping totalitarianism and the rise of communist sentiment in America have something to do with it.
But Rod Dreher does not do the all-too-typical contemporary American Christian thing here. He does not bring up very realistic concerns about our Leftists only to sweep them away with superficial platitudes to not be anxious for anything, or remembering that our citizenship is in Heaven and this Earth is not our home. And for that I am thankful.
While true, those reminders are only really helpful when they are taken with the whole counsel of God to temper the wise caution we do well to issue and heed. Otherwise they only strike the therapeutic keys on the pianos of our souls, and otherwise leave us flat-footed for the troubles coming.
And what did our Lord say? He said that the wise man was the one who heard his words and lived by them. Like a man who builds his house on the rock before storms come with hard rain and blowing winds that would knock down homes built on sand.
The Lord then promised storms in life. And in our day, the storm is the torrential onslaught of Leftist tyranny. Embrace the doublespeak and doublethink that writes headlines about not all women having the attendant physical characteristics of women – or else.
Truth and Freedom
But Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said “Live not by lies.” And that was what got him and other Christians who lived under communist rule through to the other side with their souls intact. And Dreher does us a great kindness in telling the stories of those saints. Here in this book he teaches us their lessons and passes along their words of warning.
Only the fool sees this trouble coming and goes on without a thought or care, shushing the advice of those who have gone before.
But if we are prudent, and if we love God and our neighbor, we will refuse the false choice of either being anxious for nothing or else taking the danger we are in seriously. If we are wise, we will batten down the hatches and board up the doors and windows of our hearts. And if we are smart we will gird up our loins and prepare for spiritual battle because the battle is already joined, whether we knew it or not.
Our families need to be discipled. Our wives need loved and protected. These children God has blessed us with need an education in morals and the truth of God’s Word first and foremost, and they need us to set the example of courage and faith.
We need to strengthen our churches to faithfully hold to the gospel which was delivered once for all for the salvation of our souls. And if we persevere under trial, we will obtain the crown of life prepared for those whose names are written in the Book of Life.
God gave us a spirit of boldness and a sound mind rather than timidity, the Scriptures tell us. And only by leaning into that can we withstand what is coming, and what is already here.
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