When mortals are confronted with a turbulent sea of doubt, we tend to look around to see if anyone else shares our reluctance. This appears to be true after a deep dive into examining Christianity. It appears that in many instances, reluctance preceded unshakeable faith. It has, in fact, found this principle, if it can be deemed as such, in the realm of morality, politics, philosophy, and war over millenniums. What about Lincoln’s “reluctant War?” Julia Ward Howe, in her “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” originally a poem, portrayed the war as a crusade against slavery. To a group of passionate New Englanders the War between the states, was always a divine mission to end the scourge of slavery. According to a 1862, editorial, in The Atlantic, her passion wasn’t embraced by General George McClellan, who thought it an anathema, fearing it would turn a war for the Union into a “blood bath” over slavery. President Lincoln wasn’t as quickly “convinced.”
Astute observers might contend that the title “reluctantly convinced” is a contradiction. Never, since the day of the Apostles, has it been so necessary to be convinced of its proof claims from the Holy Scripture, and more broadly of its principles and traditions, casting a long shadow over our existence for eons. Particularly in the days since our Founders. Whether it’s Adams, Burke, Tocqueville, Coleridge, Coolidge, Churchill, Frost or Whitman, we discover a healthy deposit of moral certitude that challenged the rise of reluctance and doubt.
In 2016 America, we witnessed a ground swell of grass-root support, albeit wobbly at first, for a unconventional outsider, business man named Donald Trump, through the force of his style, he transformed American politics. What convinced those who initially dismissed Trump’s candidacy, as another version of reality TV? Although a non-scientific poll of the reasons for voter’s linear progression, from reluctant to convinced, may vary. Nevertheless, they discovered tangible reasons to be convinced that their initial intuition was mistaken, or tainted by the mainstream media and progressives, whose vitriol began the moment he and Melania descended the grand escalator at Trump Tower in 2016. The Bush globalist clan, broke silence, convinced they could undermine Trump, appealing to the “more civil” wing of the GOP. Sore losers.
Snubbing the old guard of the GOP, formerly reluctant “silent majority” of new voters, formerly reluctant to get into a political scrum, or back another “talking head” who in times past, purloined their wallets once again. They were convinced Trump’s actions matched his words, for the first time in their lifetime. Few would cross swords over labels. No D.C. two step for them. Trump loyalist were reluctant to dance.
In late nineteenth century, in not-so-jolly 19th century England, with the cry of Socialism on the rise, was perhaps the needed jolt to convince the Brits, that their philosophical postulates had been undercut, and the power somehow had slipped into the hands of statesman, according to historian W.E.H. Lecky. The year of Queen Victorias death in 1901, marked the end of the Victorian economic progress. Real wages, that had risen steadily since 1880, refused to budge. The restrictive policies of powerful British trade unions, imperiled foreign trade markets. Progressivism had once again failed to deliver on it’s promises. Britain had lost most of her manufacturing advantage, and the public sensed it. The pocket of the average Brit had once again been picked. Economic reality served as a convincing factor to the working bloke. Socialism is predictable and parasitic, but beguilingly attractive, to this very day. In 1906, the real struggle would be between conservatives and liberalism. Sixty-five years later Malcolm Muggeridge, reared Socialist, called liberalism a death wish.
From ancient scribes of sacred history, revealed in the New Testament, by a first order historian, doctor Luke, bolstered by first century historian Tacitus, chronicling accounts of skeptics, doubters and naysayer, reluctant to believe the claims of John the Baptist or Jesus himself. Like Saul of Tarsus, was “still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,” he demonstrated no reluctance to stoning those new converts “of The Way” like the Apostle Stephen. What convinced Saul, who would later be called Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles? It transcended persuasive words. In space and time it happened, on a Damascus road, confronted by the Lord himself, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Few have experienced a conversion so dramatic. Holy Writ records reluctant King Agrippa, influenced by Paul’s compelling polemic, would admit,“You almost persuaded me to become a Christian.”
What convinced the Framers themselves of the “Miracle” at Philadelphia, to adopt a new system of federal government, representing a political achievement unprecedented in mortal history? Were they subject to reluctance during these formative times? Most were unapologetically convinced they were “influenced, guided and governed” by the hand of God. Did they view this historic accomplishment as miraculous? Charles Pinckey, less known among the Framers admits, “When the general convention met, no citizen of the United States could expect less from it than I did so many jarring interests and prejudices to reconcile.” He concluded, “Nothing less than the superintending hand of Providence that so miraculously carried us through the war.” At a time fraught with danger of outcome, the Framer’s intuition of self-government constantly reminded them of centuries of man’s proclivity to his monarchical self, prompted Benjamin Franklin to note,“There’s a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government.”
After our chaotic and divisive 2020 election, more than half the nation is unconvinced that the election was conducted honestly. Champions of permanence aren’t duped by Democrat’s election driven “faith on display” banner. Apparently “religious Joe Biden” was recently exhumed. Our radar detects these versifying nihilist, and their plot to make it easier for the damsels of death to slaughter babies. When Biden taps Pete Buttigieg, as Secretary of Transportation-free bus rides to Planned Parenthood.
What of COVID-19? We’re “informed by science” that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Many are convinced that light could be a barreling freight train aimed at derailing our liberty and freedom, once anchored in Biblical roots. Evangelicals are convinced of renewed opportunities for proclaiming the Gospel, considering the number of religious “Nones” are rising and unconvinced. Patriots are reluctant at the prospects of turning over the political reigns back to a more centralized, corrupt government, with professional hucksters, leeches and lobbyists, and unbridled capitulation to socialism-historically swaying “folly and knavery.” Unhinged progressives are openly hostile to long standing Western traditions in general, and orthodox Christianity in particular. Genuine conservatives are convinced Biden’s pugnacious call for unity has fallen on reluctant ears. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org