Be Still! Departing from Collective Madness

Writing Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (scheduled for release by Wipf and Stock Publishers in January), I had a growing sense of its prescience. The subtitle “departure from collective  madness” is anchored in the works of Elie Wiesel and Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, and the Gospel of Matthew’s story of the Wise Men (sic) who “departed” for their own country by another way.

As the date for final submission of the Be Still! manuscript drew near, I saw a madman running for the highest office of the land but underestimated the extent of the collective madness that would be drawn like iron to a magnet. The billionaire television personality who puts his name on everything his hands have touched, gave voice to people who have felt groped by the system.

Michael Moore, a champion of America’s forgotten working class, saw this coming. He was in touch with the many sources of anger that found a voice in Donald Trump, and he warned the Democratic Party to get in touch with it before it was too late.

Now it is history. I felt sick Wednesday morning. By yesterday evening, I was able to calm down. Today’s sense of nausea is worse than yesterday’s after reading “Meet Trump’s Cabinet-in-Waiting” – a cabinet which will put the country back into the hands Wall Street, big oil, climate change-deniers, and the likes of Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Rudy Gulliani (Attorney General candidate), loose-talking groper Newt Gingrich (Secretary of State candidate), and CEOs.

President Obama and Secretary Clinton have called for the country to unite for an orderly transition. I believe in orderly transitions. I applaud them. A democratic republic depends upon such transitions. I support that. But I will not be united behind a madman or absorbed into a collective madness that bodes evil. I will not turn over cars. I will not stop traffic. I will not burn things. I will write. And write. And write knowing, as this election has reaffirmed, that words DO matter.

I will do my best to be still. I will follow the example the biblical Wise Men (sic) who “being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, . . . departed into their own country another way”[Matthew 2:12 KJV]. Herod was a strongman in whom there was no refuge. There was and is another way.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

[Psalm 46]

Amen. May it be so.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, November 10, 2016




14 thoughts on “Be Still! Departing from Collective Madness

  1. We were totally shocked and horrified by the results… Reading this tread has been calming…Sorry I missed last Tues. Just plain forgot… Doing that a lot lately. Also going up to Kris’s nursing home tomorrow to meet with Brighton Hospice, she has been going downhill a lot these last few months. Just want to cry. Blessings.


  2. Thanks for that, Gordon. That is the first thing I’ve read since Tue. I have wanted to throw up and I have not been able to pray. I have so much fear about children who will probably not have health care or food (even less that they do now). And other poor people. And I am angry. I haven’t read FB or watched tv because I don’t want to hear anymore about “him.”

    I know the answers: I need to pray and I need to be still in my angry fearful mind and soul. So today I made a start with one of your writings, knowing that you would be honest and helpful.

    I look forward to reading your book.

    I am still looking for a church here in Atlanta. It seems to be a hard decision, but a decision will come.

    Thanks again!!!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Cynthia, I’m glad you found this meaningful. We must have gone to the same college. Been raised in the same faith tradition. Been cut from similar MBTI cloth.

      As I recall, there are two Presbyterian churches in Atlanta worth exploring. One is Central. The other is Trinity. Both have had fine pastoral leadership over the years. Central’s former pastor/head of staff became the President of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Austin, TX). Joanna Adams served Trinity a decade or so before she went to Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. In the meantime, you can pray anywhere! Grace and Peace to you in Atlanta.


      • Thanks for the feedback about churches. I went to Central again today. I am going to talk with one of the many ministers because I have questions about several things. There is a lot of talk about money, fellowship lunch costs$8. Breakfast is provided to the homeless in the courtyard on Sundays before church but I am not comfortable with this. I assume the homeless don’t come to the fellowship lunch! I’ll probably join. My minister in NC also suggested Central. So. I’ll keep visiting til I know what I need to do.


        • You did better than I this morning. You went to church! I stayed home. Couldn’t stand the thought of listening to a minister dance through the thistles doing a Tiny Tim imitation. “Tiptoe through the tulips . . . .” Instead, I stayed home to write and watched Westminster – Minneapolis worship by livestream. I tuned in too late to hear the sermon except for the last line: “The flower will bloom.” The ministers looked like they’d been hit with stomach flu. J

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mr./Ms. ackledatter (No idea who this is, sadly). J. I’m glad it helped. The book will be available on Amazon in February. If by chance you live here in the Twin Cities, you could attend the book launch or other events, still to be arranged. Thank you for asking.


  3. It looks like horror ahead, but our future president has proved himself unreliable. I’m not so sure he’ll follow through on what he has threatened. I think, rather, he’ll look to see what will make him look good. It behooves us to make lots of influential noise, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I look forward to you writing. And writing. And writing. Words DO matter. And Herod’s gonna take a mile.

    “Maybe me and you can be wise guys too, and go home by another way…”

    Safe home, Gordon.


    On Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 8:51 AM, Views from the Edge wrote:

    > Gordon C. Stewart posted: “Writing Be Still! Departure from Collective > Madness (scheduled for release by Wipf and Stock Publishers in January), I > had a growing sense of how prescient the title was. The subtitle “departure > from collective madness” is anchored in the work of Elie Wi” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Erin. William Stringfellow’s book “An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land” is worth the read. Also the Letter to the Hebrews. Be gentle. Be bold. Have courage. Hold fast that which is good. Return no one evil for evil.

      Grace and Peace,

      Liked by 1 person

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