Well, I met the spirit of John the Baptist in a most unexpected place. On the pages of a book written by a Roman Catholic named Austin Ruse. The book title is, Under Siege, No better time to be a faithful Catholic. (Since catholic means universal I would add christian)
I first heard of him when listening to a podcast on an article he wrote recently that greatly peaked my interest.
The podcast and his book have convinced me that he is truly a voice crying in our wilderness of wokeness and ‘Laodicean like’ climate in the church. I urge you to acquire this book.
Let me give you a sense of the book’s author by sharing his introduction to, Under Siege, by Austin Ruse.
We live these days in a dark valley. We kill our elderly in the name of compassion. We kill our children in the name of convenience. We mutilate sexual organs in the name of God knows what. We warm ourselves with the cold comfort of believing that at least we seem to be better than the ancient Romans. In my many years of writing columns and essays, I have spent a lot of time staring into the abyss. I have considered this to be my beat. My wife does similar work, and she often jokes macabrely with me about all the things we have seen in this dark valley. Sometimes
we wish we did not know quite so much. As the “replicant” Roy Batty says in Blade Runner, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” But this is the work God has given me to do: to look into the abyss and to tell you what I see. You may think looking into the abyss will change you. It can. It might.
I do not recommend it to everyone. Thomas Gray speaks to those who cannot: “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.” But this book is not about the darkness. It is about the joy, the joy of knowing that God has sent us here, right now, to protect His creation. It is also about courage, sometimes even reckless courage.
There is a scene in the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket where a sniper has pinned down American soldiers in the streets of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Two men have been shot and are lying in the open, writhing in agony. The platoon leader, “Cowboy,” orders his troops to stand down, saying, “We cannot refuse to accept the situation.” For years, I had thought his wise admonition was that we must be fearless in knowing and addressing the difficulties before us. But I watched the movie again recently and saw things differently, things that are applicable to our times. Cowboy urges caution because he is afraid of losing more men. His counsel is to hunker down and hide behind the rubble in the street — a tactical retreat. But his fear doesn’t help the men who have been shot; neither does it help the men who are with him behind the rubble. It only preserves the snipers in their perch. “Animal Mother,” strapped with ammo and toting a massive machine gun, refuses to accept the situation. He ignores Cowboy, jumps over the rubble, and charges forward, machine gun blazing. He understands the situation, but he refuses to “accept” it. Though he cannot rescue the dying men, he does rally the troops, who in short order take out the sniper. In one final, sad irony, it is not Animal Mother who gets killed by the sniper’s bullet, but Cowboy.
Heroes are those who confront evil and charge the sniper’s nest. That is the situation we are in. In His great providence, God has allowed a great evil to come upon our land. But He has also sent us, in His great providence, to do something about it. What an honor that is, an honor that we should accept. We should not accept that the situation is lost; we should not hunker down and wait for better days. We are the Lord’s hands and feet on this earth, and better days rely upon us. We must charge the sniper’s nests now lodged in the government, the academy, the corporations, the media, Hollywood. We must charge with joy in our hearts that this is the mission that He gave to us. Come with me through the valley of the shadow of death, for not only is He with us: He sent us! And on the other side is sunlight and great joy.