A Dying Empire

Life is filled with losses. Every relationship ends one way or another. Death, divorce, distance. Nations and empires fade and fall. Seasons come and seasons go.

It was the Swiss psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who first described the now famous stages of grief in terminally ill patients – denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. Based on more recent research, we now know that these are not stages, but rather more like unpredictable random waves that can come in any order and with varying intensity. And we now realize that these emotions are present not only in terminally ill people, but in all of us whenever any of us, individually or collectively, experience loss.

Whether it is loss of a relationship, a career, vigorous health, or the demise of a nation or culture, we grieve. As we grieve that which we valued, we pass in and out of denial, anger, pleading, and sadness, often for many months or even years, before we settle (if we are emotionally healthy) into acceptance. 

Denial is natural and normal. It is a mistake to try to rush people out of denial. Denial protects our fragility and enables us to carry on for a time. But, denial must also play itself out. To remain permanently in denial is pathological. The person who interacts with a lover who has been dead for 20 years as if they were still in the room is psychotic. 

Faith is not presumption. Hope is not denial. Faith is trust in the perfect love of God. Hope is the certainty that God is making all things new.

Refusing to wear a mask during an airborne pandemic is not faith; it is selfish. Love of neighbor demands a mask. Claiming it’s all a hoax is not hope; it is stupidity. 

Insisting America is righteous and guilt-free is not faith; it is willful ignorance of scripture and history. Claiming America is not a dying empire is not hope; it is denial. 

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist Jesus Freak Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, husband, father, grandfather

Posted on September 6, 2020, in anabaptist, Bible, Bible Teaching, Christianity, creation, Jesus, Justice, Kingdom Life, kingdom of God, parables, Peace Shalom Hesed, Poetry, Prayer, Prophecy, Spirituality, The Cross, Worship. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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