Lord of the here and now

Lord of the come what may

I want to believe somehow

That You can heal these wounds of yesterday

So now I’m asking You

To do what You want to do

Be the Lord of my past
Oh how I want You to
Be the Lord of the past


— from “Lord Of The Past” by Bob Bennett

This past Sunday, the mysterious yet not mythical Mrs. Dude and I were in Southern California attending a concert featuring three veterans of contemporary Christian music back when it was still called that: Bob Bennett, Michele Pillar, and Kelly Willard. Each would take a turn performing one of their songs with the other artists providing backing vocals where suggested, all unobtrusively backed by a smooth instrumental quartet featuring respected studio and stage (over twenty years backing Neil Diamond live) guitarist Hadley Hockensmith.

During one of his times Bennett dusted off one of his more obscure tunes. Originally released as a new track to enhance a long out of print compilation, later rerecorded for a mostly stripped down release featuring him alone with his guitar, Bennett introduced “Lord of the Past” by commenting on the song’s core message, adding how many mistakenly believe that Jesus’ forgiving, via the Cross, the penalty of our sins is commensurate with eliminating the consequences of our sin. In short, no it does not. Which can be a very, very hard lesson to learn.

There is a danger in assuming the above translates solely into our needing to accept the consequences of our actions toward others. Certainly this factors into the matter; accepting ownership of the fallout from what we have done is a vital part of any believer’s walk with Christ. That said, it is not the only part. What we do in regard to the consequences of actions by others toward us also matters. Sometimes, it is the primary action item on our life agenda.

The past several weeks have seen a torrent of harsh, often horrid accusations and occasional, pathetic recriminations regarding men in positions of power abusing their status by using it as a conduit for sexually harassing women up to and including rape. There is no excuse, nor justification, for this. Nor is there acceptability for telling abused women they need to get over it and get on with it. A woman who has had that which is intended for the divine, the expression of passionate love between man and wife that also symbolizes the passion of Christ the Bridegroom for His bride the church, threatened or stolen cannot reasonably be expected to simply hit the “what’s done is done” switch and sing hey nonny nonny as she merrily goes on her way. The violation of body, mind, and soul demands deep care to regain so much as basic societal functionality, let alone true healing.

Christianity is at its heart about forgiveness: the forgiveness offered by Jesus on the Cross; His command to His followers to forgive others even as they are forgiven by Him. While Scripture tells us God “forgets” that for which He forgives the penitent, forgiveness on an earthly level is not forgetting what others have done. It is freeing oneself from the penalty of being burdened by the actions of others. The consequences remain, yet we are no longer bound by them. New life is available.

In the same fashion, while the consequences of our past actions toward ourself and others live on, we do not have to forever live under their specter. One of depression’s most hideous lies is conflating the inescapability of our past actions consequences with said actions forever defining our present and future state of being. We are more than the sum total of our past. We are infused, transformed by the Holy Spirit. We are not condemned to repeat the past. The next time does not have to be a recycling of the last time. Today does not have to be yesterday.

The past can be and ofttimes is far better or far worse than our present. We cannot change the past. We can resolve to live our lives in the here and now, embracing today even as we embrace Christ. We can allow Him to embrace us, finding in Him healing and hope in the here and now. We can give to Him that which we can neither deny or change — namely, the past — and let the eternal Lord do what only the eternal Lord can do. He wants to help. He wants to heal.

Will we let Him?

I’ve talked a bit about Rand Paul and the education he is getting now that he is the republican candidate for Senate instead of a Republican gadfly. It is an education that I was surprised he needed to get (although in fairness Mr. Dukakis Paul did make his own problems) but he is learning fast.

With the defeat of Bob Bennett we are now seeing the other side of the coin as the excellent Jay Nordlinger reminds us:

You know Sen. Bob Bennett, the Utah Republican who has been pushed aside by more sparky conservatives? You know all the good press — good liberal press — that Bennett is getting now? About how sensible and decent and patriotic he is? Such an admirable legislator? Do you remember Bennett’s ever getting such press, before he was upended by his fellow conservatives in Utah?

I don’t either.

Of course he doesn’t, as long as Bob Bennett allows the media to paint the tea parties and republicans as unreasonable ideologues he will be lionized by the press. If he had won the nomination he would just be another evil republican and worth ignoring.

Watch him become a regular commentator/guest any time the networks want to attack the tea parties.

The Washington Post blog reports that Bob Bennett has been defeated in Utah:

Bennett was defeated there as Lee, a former counsel to popular former Gov. Jon Huntsman, and Bridgewater who had lost two races against Rep. Jim Matheson (D), advanced to the final ballot.

Bennett’s defeat marks the first time a sitting Senator has lost in an intraparty fight since 2006 when Sen. Joe Lieberman was ousted by wealthy businessman Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary. Lieberman went on to run and win as an independent; under state law Bennett cannot pursue that course.

Any republican who thinks that business as usual will be acceptable after a November win had better take a long hard look at that Utah result.