And That's an Order

I keep wondering: Does the intransigence of the politicians and legislators of this nation somehow portend a dark chapter ahead for this government? That’s hardly an uncommon thought, given the headlines these days out of Washington. But could it be that the political and ideological gridlock we are witnessing plays into a  much deeper and darker narrative than the public or its leaders realize? And if so, how? One of these days the game of political chicken will backfire. In the current financial showdown, each side has been banking on their opponents’ unwillingness to be labeled the cause of this nation’s fiscal crisis. Thus each party has bet the last dregs of their already historically low approval ratings on the hope that their opponents will blink just before the deadline and sue for a compromise. But what has surprised observers this time around is that neither side is blinking. It is growingly apparent that both political camps are willing to risk a head-on collision rather than back down. Period. So what lies ahead? Only God knows, since it is more than clear our leaders don’t. While it isn’t the purpose of this Fourth Watch blog to handicap all the possible outcomes of rapidly unfolding current events on this planet or in this nation—be they political, social, economic, ecological, or religious—this blog does seek to keep a careful, watchful eye on the those events for one simple reason—Jesus commanded His followers to do so: “‘But the exact day and hour [of His return]? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch’” (Mark 13:32-37 The Message). Did you catch that? “Keep a sharp lookout.” “Stay at your post.” “Keep watch.” Thus the mission of this Fourth Watch blog. Two asteroids, one papal resignation and a government in gridlock, all within the last few days—anybody want to handicap the odds of all three turning out to be apocalyptic indeed? As any social scientist will remind us, all it takes for a society or a government or a nation to undergo a rapid paradigm shift is the injection of a single catastrophic event. Knock out the last vestiges of personal and collective security, and all bets are off. History has played out that scenario too many times to be wrong. So Jesus is right. “Keep a sharp lookout.” “Stay at your post.” “Keep watch.” And if you’re a follower of His, that is an order.