- Caldwell suggests that we’re in an especially divided time in society. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- Have you known a time when we were less divided/more united? What was different? Were things better or worse? For whom?
- Regardless of whether we’re more divided than “normal,” does the author’s claim that looking to God for direction is better than nothing hold up? What about people who view God, or faith, in very different ways?
Direction and Division
Put no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one … for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. - Micah 7:5-6 (NRSV)
Yikes. Alas for Micah, to be alive at a time when direction has become so unmoored from truth that friends no longer trust each other. When truth has become so unmoored from fact that loved ones rise up against each other.
Alas for us, too.
Not that every cause of division is bad. There are good reasons one might sunder oneself from another; anyone who’s left an abusive relationship or stopped talking to a racist or homophobic uncle can tell you that.
So it’s hard to know, fully, the reasons for the divided state of things today.
Is it because what’s right and true is subjective, unknowable?
Because someone shadowy is feeding the world misinformation to create discord for nefarious purposes?
Because some people know what’s right and true, while others are wrong?
In a world so divided that nobody agrees which way is up, what’s east and what’s west, Micah lands on this: “I will look to the Lord.” The poles that used to give direction may be shifting. The world may be all subjective postmodernism all the time, but for Christians, there’s at least one thing to rely on: the grace and the gospel of God.
Of course, that’s only about as good as someone lost in the wilderness knowing which way is north. It doesn’t tell you where you are, or where you’re going, or what’s between here and there, or if the people you’re with will agree where you ought to go.
But it’s a whole lot better than nothing.
When everything is shaky and the world seems directionless, help us look to you, our bright north star. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.