The Bird or the Carport?

I hate birds.  Snakes once topped my most hated animals list but as of late, they seem to be preoccupied and have left me alone.  But the birds around my house apparently held a convention a month or so ago and decided to move their home office to my house, right above where I park my car.  This means that when I wash my car, it stays clean for a grand total of about 37 minutes.  There’s nothing like a car with a vacuumed interior, shiny tires and bird diarrhea all over the front windshield.

I’ve tried everything to keep these birds away.  I put colorful little plastic cups up where they build their nests but they just build around them.

“Thanks for helping with the curb appeal of our new nest, kind sir.”

I heard somewhere that aluminum foil keeps birds away so I tried that.

“Look Woody, he’s trying the old aluminum foil trick.  What an idiot!  Explain to me again why humans are higher than us on the food chain.”

Now I’m at a crossroads.  Something has to be blown up and there are two options: the birds or my carport.

This week there were numerous reports about Rick Santorum’s pledge to ban pornography if he were elected president.  This claim didn’t really surprise or bother me.  It’s getting late in the election and Santorum is falling behind so the bold claims are to be expected.  What really concerned me was the response many Christians had to this idea.  When The Gospel Coalition reported on the story many of the comments readers left were right in line with Dostoevsky’s famous quote, “Make us your slaves but feed us” by supporting a total federal ban on pornography.

Pornography is a problem.  A big one.  But calling for the federal government to ban it would be akin to blowing up the carport.  Sure, maybe you’ve corrected one problem but you just created a legion more in its place.  For one, what happens once the laws banning pornography have been in place for a while but now there’s a new president and a new congress that decides that your church website is just as equally offensive as pornography?

Stranger things have happened.

Never waste a good crisis.

The church has been down this road before.  In their book When Helping Hurts, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert call the evangelical church’s failure to deal with social problems in the early 1900s the “Great Reversal”.  And it was that failure that opened the door for FDR’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  If you’re keeping score at home, poverty is winning the war.  It may be halftime, but the United Sates is down by 28 and a few of the coaches have decided to start helping out the other team.

My point is that when the church shirks its God given responsibilities and passes them off to the government bad things happen.  I’m certainly no anarchist but can you think of something that doesn’t involve blowing things up that has been improved because the federal government got involved?  Would we currently be suffering under the welfare state that we have known for so long if there were no “Great Reversal” in the early 1900s?  How much better would our schools be if parents actually had more say than bureaucrats in Washington D.C. about how and where their children are educated?  Has an increase in federal spending power, man power, gun power and search and seizure power done anything to curb our nation’s drug problem?

I wonder if some of us in the church, for all of our talk about the gospel and being gospel-centered, have actually forgotten about the power of the gospel.  Man’s laws can be wonderful for restraining and punishing wicked hearts.  They are terrible at transforming wicked hearts.  Only the gospel can transform.  And as Christians, it is that gospel that we should boldly and lovingly proclaim.  It is that gospel alone that addresses the real problem.  And it is that gospel that some are apparently ashamed of when they expect the federal government to do what only the gospel can.