A SURVIVAL MANUAL

I just read Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, a recent best seller by Rod Dreher. I cannot recall reading a more important book (after the Bible, of course). I feel like I am a little closer to understanding what’s going on in this insane world and it’s pretty disturbing. One reviewer wrote, “Live Not By Lies will cement Rod Dreher’s reputation as the most important Christian thinker of our age.” Dreher borrowed the title from an essay published by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on the day he was exiled from the USSR after a lifetime of persecution. The parallels in the societal circumstances of both literary masterpieces are sobering in the extreme. Dreher calls the current American version “rising soft totalitarianism” versus the Soviet “hard totalitarianism,” but the core of the problem is identical: It is spiritual, not political. Dreher makes his case immediately in his introduction to the book with a quote from the great Nobel Prize winner:

“There is always this fallacious belief: ‘It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.’ Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.” — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“A manual for Christian dissidents” is a timely subtitle, because that is who all true Christians are now in this age of hate, what George Orwell called a “hideous ecstasy.” This book is a Christian survival guide for our tumultuous times.

Herewith a few pithy quotes:

“A time of painful testing, even persecution, is coming. Lukewarm or shallow Christians will not come through with their faith intact. If you are not rock solid in your commitment to traditional Christianity, then the world will break you.”

“What is happening here? A progressive and profoundly anti-Christian militancy is steadily overtaking society.”

 “Totalitarianism is essentially the politicization of everything…. Today’s totalitarianism demands allegiance to a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incompatible with logic—certainly with Christianity. Arguments with these zealots are about as productive as theological disputation with a synod of Taliban divines.”

 “There is a difference between a dictatorship and totalitarianism. Dictatorship can make life hard for you, but they don’t want to devour your soul. Totalitarian regimes are seeking your souls.”

Dreher quotes Rev. Richard Wurmbrand, who spent fourteen years in the communist prisons of Romania for his faith, author of the book, Tortured For Christ, and co-founder of Voice of the Martyrs magazine. There are two kinds of Christians: “…those who sincerely believe in God and those who, just as sincerely, believe that they believe. You can tell them apart by their actions in decisive moments.”

The decisive moment has arrived for many Christians today and is very near for many more. Jobs and livelihoods hang in the balance. As I write this there is an employment crisis across all sectors of the economy, public and private, over a so-called vaccine mandate and religious exemptions to it.  Are you ready? Your children? Your grandchildren?

“The culture war is largely over and we lost…Now our mission is to build the underground resistance.”

Christian, Read. This. Book.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10–11).

See you in church.

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