From Fire by Fire

In this fantastic, insightful article, (warning: a single f-bomb is dropped early on – ugh….) Andrew Sullivan summarizes two new books by political scientists, who write from opposite ends of the political spectrum – one, liberal; the other, conservative.

Both paint a dark picture of the current state of social and political tribalism, and it’s effects for America, going forward.

Wherever you land on the political divide, it is hard to say that we are conserving what is best in American political and social culture, or that we are progressing beyond outmoded, sinful instincts and prejudices.

Sullivan ends his article with a call for “revival”.  Sullivan is a Christian, though he is hardly the sort of Christian to expect, desire, or pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit, which makes his call all the more remarkable.

A good friend sent this to me, yesterday:


The dove descending breaks the air

With flame of incandescent terror

Of which the tongues declare

The one discharge from sin and error

Our only hope or else despair

Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre –

To be redeemed from fire by fire.

                                   T. S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”


My friend shared the Eliot poem, after a message I gave, yesterday, on Christ’s Baptism by John.  When Jesus is baptized by John, the dove – a symbol of peace – descends on Christ.

When the Holy Spirit descends, we are at peace with God, and can go out in peace, to be neighbors who share the peace of Christ with our neighbors.  That kind of “peace like a fire”, is the peace our fractured nation needs so desperately.