If you are anything like me, you have been paying attention to what is and has been going on in the world over the last two years. Specifically, I want to talk about what is called “The West.” Basically, the US, Canada and Western Europe is “the West.” I want to specifically talk about America though because, unfortunately, that’s where I live.
We’ve all been watching as our society disintegrates right before our very eyes. The last couple of years has seen societal decay accelerate at an alarmingly rapid pace. The whole “woke” movement and transgender and queer agenda has been force fed to us repeatedly. Riots, commercials, TV shows; nothing is safe. Even our sporting events have been taken over by this nonsense. Disney has openly said they want to promote more queer programming.
Nothing is safe anymore. Even so-called Christians are going woke.
The bombardment on the psyche and soul of the American people is relentless. I experienced this firsthand this last weekend. I went to a conference in a U.S. city that will remain nameless. What I experienced was mind numbing, soul crushing and deeply terrifying.
Here’s a funny thing that happened though. During a panel discussion on the first night of the conference, someone said something that was applause worthy. Rather than applaud, a bunch of people began snapping their fingers. I was utterly confused and was looking around wondering what was happening. I was informed that clapping can be disruptive and aggressive.
Disruptive and aggressive.
That should have been a warning sign of how the weekend would go. There was a whole lot of talk about being “inclusive” and a “safe place.” That’s code for woke, I discovered. You’re only inclusive if you accept as normal the transgender ideology and LGBTQwhatever ideology. In fact, these things were openly discussed as being ideal and totally normal. Pronouns were being thrown around. There were openly trans people and openly gay and openly whatever proudly flaunting their demonic ideologies all over the place. It was disgusting and disturbing and troubling and all I could do was pray. I prayed for those in the room who had lost themselves and whose souls are enslaved to this rot and for my own soul and I prayed fervently for the souls of my children.
Our kids are going to grow up in a society (in the West) that all this nonsense and godlessness will be “normal.” They will grow up being either numb to it or a part of it.
Unless we act. I believe with all my heart that we only have one of two choices left for Christians in the West. We are either going to have to hunker down with like-minded faithful brothers and sisters or flee.
For me to hunker down (as an Orthodox Christian), that means I must be where there is a strong and vibrant Orthodox community. That is hard to find in the U.S. I’m not being disparaging, I’m simply saying that Orthodoxy is not well known or easy to find, especially where I live. For most of us that’s true. That means we’d have to move. And the biggest problem with that is that, even if we move within the U.S., you still have to deal with a rapidly declining morality in society. In fact, I would say at this point that it’s basically already gone.
Which leaves the option of fleeing. Now, I’ve talked to several people about this and many of them have said to me things like, “But we are called to be a witnesses and lights,” and other such things as that. That is true. We are called to be witnesses to the Light in a dark world. But flight is also something Holy Scripture talks about repeatedly. Consider our friend Lot from the OT and the famous story of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was told to flee before the wrath of God descended on the city. As he and his family fled, his wife looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt. She was still attached to Sodom and her comfortable life and was punished for it. Let that sink in for a minute.
To say that we are living in a modern Sodom in America is not a stretch by any definition.
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 10 that when they are persecuted in one city, flee to another. In Matthew 24 and Luke 21, He told them when they see the abomination of desolation to flee into the mountains. We are witnessing abominations by the droves in our society. In Revelation 18, when the future Babylon is prophesied, God tells His people to “Come out of her, my people.”
Flee, He says.
And the great Apostle St. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18,
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
What fellowship do we have, brothers and sisters, with the darkness that pervades our country? What part do we believers have to do with the pagans who dominate our society? Are we not the temple of the living God? We are told not even to touch the unclean thing (pretty much our whole society).
Flee from it. Don’t have anything to do with it. Don’t touch it.
Lest you think it’s just the New Testament, we see the same in the Old Testament. In Jeremiah 51, we read,
“ Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence…We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.” (vs. 5, 9)
Flee. Forsake Babylon. Judgement is coming.
The Prophet Isaiah also, when speaking of coming out of bondage (and can you say we’re not in bondage in the U.S.?)
“Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (Is. 52:11)
Flee. Get out. Don’t even touch the unclean thing.
I don’t care about me. It’s my children. My children are going to grow up in a society that is utterly godless, a society that embraces its own “truth” and abandons Truth for their own pleasure. I cannot stand by and let this happen. What kind of father am I if I don’t do something to save my children from this coming flood of wickedness and judgement?
I think it’s time to go.
Pray for me and my family. Pray for each other. Pray for Christ’s return. Pray, brothers and sisters.
My music tastes have changed over the years. Once upon a time, I was all about some “gangster rap.” I mean, weren’t we all in the 90s? But seriously, my musical tastes over the years have ranged from rap to “classic rock” to classical music.
I guess I didn’t really think about music all that much to be honest. I went to boarding school in Kenya for middle and high school. We had pretty strict rules about music. There were certain kinds of music that we were prohibited from listening to. Naturally, that was the kind of music I gravitated toward. If it was against the rules, I was all about it.
I guess that’s pretty natural, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves anyway; that it’s natural to be rebellious and break rules. From a theological perspective, I can see that. We are, because of the Fall, prone to sin. We are prone to sin because we’ve inherited that disease, the sickness of self from our first parents.
But I guess I never really took music that seriously. Or at least didn’t really think about it that much or how much influence it could have over us. But the voice lifted in song is powerful. Singing moves us, generates emotion and so on. It reminds me of the story of the creation of Narnia from C.S. Lewis’ work The Chronicles of Narnia. The character of Aslan creates the land of Narnia entirely by singing.
Lewis describes it, in part, this way,
“In the darkness, something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it . . . Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale; cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn't come out gently one by one as on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out . . . If you had seen and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.” – from The Magician’s Nephew, pg. 98-99
The most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it…of course, Lewis is describing the “First Voice”, but the point remains. There is power in singing. Maybe this is why Holy Scripture talks about it so much. There are so many texts that it would be pages and pages of quotes but let me give you a few,
“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.” Psalm 96:1-2
“I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:2
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Psalm 5:11
And the list could go on and on. Singing is important. What we sing is important and how we sing it is important. Over the last year or so, this has become really important to me in my own walk with Christ and is supremely important, I believe, in how we all follow The Way. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; what we consume matters. The things we put in our minds matter. That especially comes to media and, in this case, music.
Let me illustrate it this way. Have you ever found yourself singing the words of a song you’ve heard a hundred times and never realized you knew the words? One of the best ways to teach children something is to put it to song. There is something in the human person that responds to music.
Which makes it super important that we pay attention to what music we listen to. I’ve recently heard my own children singing song lyrics that are not exactly Christ honoring. That’s my failure as a parent and spiritual leader of our home. Now I know some of you will say that I’m being a prude or going too far or that they’ll hear it eventually. It’s true that, as long as they are in this world, they will hear the things of the world. Doesn’t mean I have to just let it happen.
Recently (over the last year) I have begun listening to a lot of chant, Orthodox chant. I have been amazed, first off, that my own family is critical of this. Comments like “boring” and “depressing” have been leveled at this sacred music. It saddens me that I have allowed my own family to be so corrupted by the world. It amazes me, secondly, how this sacred music has affected me. It leaves me at peace, joyful, but also deeply and soberly reflective. It also makes me a little jealous of the monks who get to live their lives singing and praying and worshipping God in an environment like that.
It also gives me hope. One day, all this trash of the world will be gone. All these voices raised in praise of ugly depravity, sinful debauchery and trivial nonsense will be silenced. One day the voices we raise will be raised in triumph and worship and praise. St. John, the Blessed Theologian, describes it for us,
“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:8-14)
Sing, brothers and sisters! Let your voices be heard lifted in song to our Lord and King and Saviour! One day we will all worship around the Throne and join in the song of the Lamb! And it will be the most beautiful sound we will ever hear. Until then, sing to Him with anticipation and love and fidelity!
Sing to the Lord!