By Scott Keith –
What is a snowflake? Well, a snowflake is a single ice crystal which falls through the Earth’s atmosphere. Complex shapes emerge as the flake moves through differing temperature and humidity regions, such that individual snowflakes are almost always unique in structure. Snowflakes are exceptionally beautiful and unique flakes of ice. Though they are beautifully unique, their makeup also makes them exceptionally fragile.
“Snowflake” has emerged as a pejorative used to describe young adults (Millennials) who have been told their whole lives that they are “unique” and “special” and are, like actual snowflakes, exceptionally fragile. They almost always claim to be open, loving all people, and all opinions. Yet, when they feel their “unique” and “special” opinion is infringed upon, they lose their shit and devolve into what can only be described as a complete mental breakdown, or perhaps more accurately, a temper tantrum.
This week, the snowflakes seem to be attempting to stage a revolution. Why? I think the answer is twofold. First, I think that many them who supported Bernie Sanders were discouraged to find out that the rest of America, including the Democratic party, are not ready for a Socialist president. As a result, the Democrats themselves consorted to undermine his primary campaign. At the end of the day, Bernie was out and Hillary was in.
Second, Donald Trump seems to stand for everything they are not. He is not particularly inclusive (though he seems to be very open to the homosexual and transgender communities). He’s been branded a racist because of comments he’s made regarding Latinos and Muslims. He says that he wants to create jobs rather than give away free money. His language is often offensive rather than loving. He uses words to describe women which are, shall we say, less than gentlemanly. He is outside of the system and seems to want to blow the system up (“drain the swamp”) rather than use the system to bail everyone out.
In short, these young adult snowflakes have had a bad several months. Bernie lost. To make matters worse, the seeming second best choice who would have been the first female president lost. Even worse, an insensitive jerk who is mean to immigrants and women and doesn’t want to hand out money won. Let the temper tantrums ensue.
These temper tantrums have manifested themselves in many ways. Social media outrage is currently out of control. Faceypage has been even more intolerable than normal, and I’m sure all the other “platforms,” of which I am wholly unaware, are even worse. Pictures of young adults (even the men) crying were everywhere the night of the election. Protests abound. In Southern California, protestors have been shutting down freeways by having impromptu sit-ins on the 101, 405, and other major arteries. (As I side note, I think any person or group of people who “shut down” a major freeway in Southern California ought to go to prison for a long, long time. Like if you agree.) “Trump is not my president” seem to be nearly ubiquitous. I’ve read story after story of liberal college professors who have entered classrooms full of crying students exclaiming things like: “We’re all so distraught because of the results of this election. I’m canceling class for the week.” Major universities have brought in crisis counselors to help these snowflakes get through the fact that they don’t like the new President-elect.
At the end of the day, I think the issue is that way too many of us, snowflakes included, tend to trust the “system” to save us. As a correlative, when that system doesn’t seem to be going our way, we are disappointed. Some of us have been raised to deal with disappointment; others have learned to throw temper tantrums. Nonetheless, we all rely on the system way too much.
The system will not, cannot, save us. The Christian believes that only Christ saves, and if He does, then nothing else can. This simple yet profound truth has the power to reframe the entire conversation. If your hope is in Christ alone, then a disappointing election will not shake you to the core, even if it upsets you quite a bit. The Christian has hope and faith in Christ alone and knows––to steal a phrase from my friends over at Virtue in the Wasteland––at the end of the day, it’s all going to be ok.
So then, what is the place of government, or the “system?” Well, the Apostle Paul answers this fairly clearly in Romans 13 when he says: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”
In other words, God has established earthly authorities (all of them) to keep things in as good of order as possible. This does not mean that all our elected authorities will be great. It does not mean we will even perceive them as good leaders. It means that our ultimate trust is that God is looking out for our good on account of Christ. Thus, no temper tantrum is necessary, even when things don’t go the way we would have hoped.
Is there ever a time for rebellion against bad authorities? That is fodder for another blog. But for here and right now, I think it is important for us to remember that, as the Scriptures tell it, these authorities do not give us hope. In fact, Paul describes these rulers more as agents of wrath to the disobedient than saviors of hope. Rather, they are an instrument of He who has promised that no one will ever pluck us out of His hand. To quote the hymn: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” Really, enough said.
Our hope is in Christ alone. His strength is our strength. We are all snowflakes who are only truly beautiful when we are standing in the shadow of His cross.