Wednesday, October 29, 2008

An Esther? Or a Daniel?

My best friend's mom pointed me to Man with a Black Hat, where David passed on an incident in the Sarah Palin tour d'awesome. It's from a pastor of some church in Ohio, who had an encounter with her in Cincinnati:
As he [McCain] moved to my right, Sarah Palin came over to my left side … standing over the crowd and then looking at the little lady who had lost the son. It took a moment for her to shake some hands and people were pushing in all around. Sarah came and got on her hands and knees on that side of the stage and hugged that little mom, telling her, “It was not in vain.” She promised her support.

It was at this moment Sarah Palin reached out for me to help her up, and as I was assisting her to stand, I was now face-to-face with her, and God said, “Open up your mouth and I will fill it.”

Here is what came out:

“God wants you to know that you are a present-day Esther!”

[She immediately began to cry!]

“God wants to tell you that you are chosen for such a time as this!”

“You are called, and chosen to be a leader.”

“Don't lose heart and don't fear man.”

“The news and naysayers and criticizers are going to be very hateful toward you … and in the days ahead they are going to turn up the heat … but do not fear.”

“You are a present-day Esther.” You are an Esther. You are an Esther!

Aaaaall righty, then.

I'm with David on being skeptical of private revelation. I've known too many people who were always having a "word from the Lord on their hearts," who were just as likely to have a word on their gall bladder from Barney the Purple Dinosaur. Then again, I've also known people whom God really does seem to speak through. Whether this guy is a prophet or a loon is kind of irrelevant, though, if what he's saying is true. The two aren't always mutually exclusive.

The pastor seems pretty compos mentis, more or less like any other charismatic Protestant. Like David, I'm familiar with them, and they don't seem weird to me. You just have to speak the language. For the same reason, I don't have too much problem with Fatima and Lourdes. To be a Christian requires a belief in the possibility of miracles. Whether a particular one occurred or not doesn't change that.

I'm also a little reluctant to call the lovely Sarah a present-day Esther. There is no secret plot to eradicate Christians from the planet. (At least not a human one; Satan hasn't given up yet.) The parallel doesn't stand up very far. I suspect the good pastor latched onto Esther because she was a woman. But as feminine as Sarah clearly is, she's not approaching office in a traditionally womanly role.

From where I sit, she's more of a Daniel. Daniel didn't have to save his people from overt destruction. They weren't endangered, just a minority overwhelmed by evil rulers. What Daniel did was legitimize virtue by example. He didn't get into authority through godliness; the Babylonians weren't terribly impressed with Jewish spirituality. He got there through sheer competence and honesty. Daniel's enemies had to go to some pretty ridiculous lengths to discredit him, because there wasn't anything legitimate to nail him with. His heroism wasn't as much in what he did as in who he was. He was proof that it was possible to remain true to God and still survive in Babylon. Because of guys like Daniel, the Jews managed not to be absorbed the way the other ten tribes seem to have been.

That's where I see Sarah Palin, win or lose. If McCain wins, she rides into office along with him, maintaining a social-conservative presence in the government. If Obama wins, she's still blazed a trail for women in politics. Never again will it be taken for granted that being pro-life and pro-traditional-marriage disqualifies a woman from being a feminist. (Let the uterofascists howl as they may; they still can't stuff the genie back into the bottle.)

Sarah Palin isn't likely to save us all from destruction. But then, she doesn't need to. All she had to do to win the victory was show up.

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