Tuesday, June 29, 2010

why even Facebook involves spiritual warfare

Somehow I have amassed over two hundred "friends" on Facebook since joining in April of 2007. Since I attended Christian elementary and high schools, many of them are former classmates who would have been or still are professing Christians. I'll come back to this in a minute.

I stay at home with our three children and homeschool our oldest, who is now seven and working between a first and second grade level(whatever that means). We attend a church which is a very conservative Reformed Presbyterian church in the nearby city which is about a 30 minute drive to the parking lot. We only have services on Sunday at the building. We don't see any of our church family, except one dear visiting friend occasionally throughout the week. We only have one vehicle which my husband primarily uses everyday to get to work and back. My family lives exclusively in the United States with my parents being about a seven hour drive away in Pennsylvania. Shane's family is in Atlantic Canada with the closest being his parents home which is about a 12 hour drive from us. He does have a twin brother who lives with his newlywed wife in our city and we see him about every three weeks but we do not attend the same church.
Why am I mentioning all this?
Because if you said, "Heather, do you see yourself on the front lines of spiritual conflict?" I would laugh and say, "I live in a little village in Ontario with minimal contact with most people. I see virtually no action. The few people I do interact with here are Christian believers like me. How could I think I'm really involved in spiritual warfare?"
Then I read these words penned by Douglas Wilson in his slim book, Classical Education and the Homeschool.
To be a Christian is to be in constant, total war. We have no say in the matter, and no one is exempt from serving. This war is not just some sideline feature of the Christian life. It is the Christian life. Every step toward seeing "every knee bow" before the Lord of glory is an act of war, whether in faithfulness or hatred. Until that point, the war is ruthless and relentless. The horrific enemy onslaught never ceases.
This war is not only constant but total, unconfined, and overwhelming. It is not limited to the daily fight against our own sin but encompasses everything within and without. It is not limited to our own or any one time but rages in every corner of history. It is not limited to our own flesh-and-blood world and history but is driven by dark clashes in heavenly places. (p. 53)

And then it slowly seeps into my mind, this describes what it feels like some of the time when I am on Facebook reading updates from former Christian school classmates and friends. The frustration of seeing supposedly God's people thinking completely opposite the way God's people are supposed to think and therefore act. Girls shacking up with their boyfriends turned fiances turned "let's wait until next year to get married". Wives moaning about housework and similar drudgeries. Moms planning all the things they will get done while their little ones are "safely" ensconced at public schools. Parents wondering how-on-earth they are going to get their darling-angel-children under control and into bed without a two-hour ruckus tonight.
Boy, Facebook sounds like a boatload of fun right now. I'm so glad I joined. Sarcasm aside, everything I have just noted sounds all very judgmental and that-other-word. Why don't you just quietly close your account and go read your books, you wonder? Why stay listening to all this conflict? Because. This is spiritual warfare. And if I didn't find it on Facebook, it would be somewhere else because that is the life of a believer.
And it wasn't until I read that paragraph by Wilson that I really, really understood the fight. Do I or have I commented on these spiritually-telling updates from friends? No, not usually. (I just write about them on my blog.) But this sentence in particular has called me out: Every step toward seeing "every knee bow" before the Lord of glory is an act of war, whether in faithfulness or hatred. And no one is exempt from serving. I'm not, even though I have limited face-to-face contact with people. The few friends coming to my front door or the many people scrolling by my Facebook feed are all people who will one day, "bow the knee" and it will only be with one of two heart conditions. Believing Faithfulness or Unbelieving Hatred. There is no half-way point. It's all or nothing as they say.
So I see the conflict for what it is. And I tread carefully but now much more mindful that "this is the Christian life". Don't expect it to be different, not even on Facebook.

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