I’ve grown up in the middle of the Media-Lucy-and-Charlie-Brown game. So I don’t believe anything they say. I don’t believe the suits. I don’t believe the shiny smiles. I don’t believe your sexy low-cut blouse. I don’t watch the news. I don’t read it. I subscribe to no newspapers. I do not have cable television. And whenever I have a few minutes to catch a bit of what they call news, I’m always reassured that I’m still not missing out. Someone recently asked how I get my news, and after a minute I realized that the simple answer is some kind of combination of Twitter feeds and Facebook (though I’ll admit I’ve occasionally practiced a bit haruspicy in my son’s full diaper). I’m not saying I’ve got an edge on anyone here, but I am saying I don’t think it matters.
I’ve thought for some time now that living here in the 21st century watching the talking heads and not giving a rip about what they say must be what it was like in Babel a little over four thousand years ago when God came down on their building project to confuse them. We are living in a Babel moment. God has confused our words. He has done this partially through the advent of social media and the internet: the proliferation of news outlets, news sources, coupled with the fact that anybody and their grandma can post something on Facebook or Twitter or Youtube and it has the potential to go viral. And so we have pictures of kittens and political cartoon memes and people trying to speak straight-faced on the TV about snipping the spinal cords of living babies. And this leads to the other way God has sent confusion: sin. Down the street there’s a discussion going on about whether a man with a proclivity to hump other men should be granted a marriage license. Unmanned drones are dropping bombs here and there. Terrorists are blowing themselves up in various places, rumors of economic crisis and collapse, Christians being persecuted in other countries, nuclear crisis in North Korea, and government conspiracies to confiscate all our guns and turn America into a police state.
Some of this babel is pure evil. Some of this is debatable. Some of it is surely going on but to what degree is anyone’s guess. And as it turns out, everyone does. Everyone is free to offer an opinion, informed, uninformed, ignorant, off topic, wise, etc. And so the people talk. And if you offer your opinion, whatever it’s value, you join the babel. If you are pro-life, you join the babel. If you are pro traditional marriage, you join the babel. If you want to question economic policies, your voice is swallowed in the storm. This is frustrating at times. This is infuriating at times.
But for this very reason, this cloud has a silver lining. And this is fully consistent with the point of Babel. God comes down and confuses the words, the languages in order to mute the destructive powers. You see, not only are the defenders of little babies caught in the babel, so are their murderers. Not only are the defenders of sane economics caught in the babel, so are the thieves and liars. The babel is a curse, but the babel is also for our protection. The wicked are caught in the babel as much as the righteous. This is an evil retardant. It slows us down, but it slows them down too.
But this also means that we are being judged by God. This is no accident. Our words are not lost in the storm, they are received by the Storm and spun by the Storm. We share in the judgment. We taste the judgment. In our anger and sorrow at our sins, we endure the judgment. But Pentecost was God’s answer to Babel. After Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree, when He reconciled us to God through His blood, He rose again the third day and ascended to the Father’s right hand, and sent His Spirit to turn to the cacophony into harmony, to turn to the chaos into order.
We need to pray for a new Pentecost in this land, and in the mean time, we need to keep speaking in faith. It may not feel like it’s worthwhile. It may not seem like it’s doing anything. But the same God who confuses communication on purpose is the One who controls all the airwaves. The media is in the process of learning their limitations. The power they once thought they held is now crumbling every minute. They may not want to talk about Gosnell, but we don’t give a damn. We will let the world know. They may try to follow a police chase of the suspected Boston bombers. But we don’t need them. We have iPhones and Twitter and Facebook. Their powers are waning. We have the Holy Spirit of God. And our God is not dead. He’s alive.
And so this seems like a particularly strategic time to speak. Preach the truth. Post the truth. Tell the truth. Take pictures of the truth. Share the truth. We are in the middle of a Babel, but the same God who causes the babel may be merciful and pour out His Spirit. But we do not need any more compromises. We don’t need to make any deals. The walls are coming down. Western civilization is crumbling, but if God is kind and He pours out His Spirit, the Church will be ready to assume the center. We will be ready to speak the truth. We will not go along with the lies or the deception any more. We will not be bought with money. We will not be bought with partial concessions. We will not elect murderers and thieves and liars. We will not play their games.
This is our Babel moment, but when the dust settles, the enemies of God will flee in terror, and the city will be given into our hands. And we know this because the city has already been given to our Lord Jesus Christ. It was purchased with His blood.