Cælum Occurrat Terra (Heaven Meets Earth)

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When mankind’s ability to govern is perplexed by failure and betrayed by the inevitable exalting of humanism, an old desire awakens, one left long latent in most men, and merely manageable in far fewer. Unnamed and elusive, it longs for a purer form of administration, exempt from corruption, and indefinitely bound to justice. If ever loosed from the taming leash of compromise, the longing of the human soul will wander outside of commonality and tilt heavenward. Man will aim to set a name upon that for which he was meant, and in so doing, discover that for which he was meant was likewise made for him.

Never born to be bound by the frail diatribes of their own making, nor held hostage by the finite capacities of their peers, sentient beings—because of their God-image core—can and will be most free when overseen by a wiser being than himself. Yet it was man’s delight to throw off the perfect restraints of the unseen so as to better manage the yolk of the tangible. The ultimate pride, however, relegated humanity to an inferior existence, exchanging the gift of divine governance for the insatiable appetites of the Incurable Governor. Man exchanged the God he can not see for a king that he can.

But what function does the natural have to beget the supernatural? Hope can never expect to find hidden within a horizontal plane an earthly prize, one which has only ever been and will be firmly ensconced in the realms of the divine. While Earth produces answers singularly from its own origin, Heaven summons prescriptions which appease the divine and mend the secular. Even the noblest of men become agitated if all they’re offered are cerebral remedies to soulical problems.

Disenfranchised and disillusioned, faithful men seek to correct the atrocities they see played out on the national stage, calling for a return to a more rational affair. But never sufficiently enough. So in their pursuit to stay an unyielding and untouchable oligarchy, they become more fanatical, until not even their own reasonings are understood, much less accepted by those they once shared company with. Such is the plight of the Revolutionary, sadly distanced from the center of logic by the very passions that had once justified their beliefs. They succeed neither in waking the Sleeping Majority nor in curbing the Great Conductor of Society, but only in sabotaging their own voice through misguided arguments aimed at rights rather than roots. Such men yearn for something superior, but fall too short in ascertaining the macrocosm within which the plot of their lives has been set.

What all men desire—what all men have the insatiable, constant propensity to look for until it has been found—is the prolific system of divine governance that echoes of the eternal and yet freely manifests itself in the mundane.

This is the Kingdom, God’s perfect plan for man, and man’s ultimate need satisfied. Based in the limitless knowledge of God, it is incorruptible, knowing the right thing for the right person at the right time. It is infinitely just, wholly sufficient and utterly infallible. For in fact, God established it with man in mind, uniquely creation’s own, knowing man would not be complete without a framework, exactly as he is incomplete without a skeleton. And similarly, the Kingdom exists for no one else but those intended to thrive within the construct of its making: namely, man.

In view of the world’s constantly-expanding, ever-dysfunctional constructs for purporting order and justice upon civilizations, the Kingdom stands as a bastion of light, exalting life as the ultimate expression of freedom, and relationship as the epitome of order. Incorruptible, it knows the right thing for the right person at the right time. This is because, fundamentally, the Kingdom is not an it, but a who. To separate the Kingdom from the heart of the one who dreamed it, would be to relegate it to the emergent list of inferior ideologies rooted in the hearts of man. Ideas that have, at their best, hoped to bless man, and, at their worst, destroyed man, and yet together equally missed the mark of esteeming a person above a parameter. For at the center of the Kingdom is a King, one for whom we can never usurp, never vote out, never sufficiently accuse, bribe or manipulate, unimpeachable but that he humbly accepts the inferior, unpredictable but that his grace is surprising, and unreachable yet that he is accessible to the simple. This is Jesus, Creator of the Kingdom, Sacrifice for the World.

His Kingdom has ever ebbed and flowed throughout the course of humanity. Long after governments have had their day, playing out their games upon the souls of the subjected, his Kingdom survives. It has out-lasted Babylon, out-paced Rome, and out-performed Democracy. It has no adequate competitor, no running mate, no party affiliation; it has no campaign office, no polling station, and no back-up plan; it is never found wanting, never in debt, and only called into question by the irrational. It is divinely invented and perfectly executed, sustaining the long ages of man’s darkest winters, not through propaganda or finance, but by summoning the eternal thirst of man’s soul with a drink from a limitless well. It is the answer to the cry of the wrongly accused, the desperately broken, the hopelessly helpless. It is the universal summons to a succession of precepts that are unable to sustain anything but joy, and the deepest knowing of it.

And yet there is no call for a Theocracy, for even there man interferes with the voice of God. No, such a complete manifestation, as some Fanatics call for, has only ever existed once, in a Garden; and so it will only ever be again when the Garden returns.

Instead, the Kingdom resides within those who wade slowly through the waters of the world’s ways, steadily advancing beneath the sunset of one political leader and into the sunrise of the next. The Kingdom cares not if the ruler of the day is Socialism, Fascism or Democracy. It is undeterred by Communism, Federalism, Feudalism or Imperialism, and cares nothing for their Constitutions, only for their people.

And what other way should we expect the subject and sustenance of the ethereal to permeate the realm of flesh than through the transference of the heart? No better method of osmosis has ever been facilitated, much less invented. For the establishment of the ways and means of the Kingdom comes through Jesus Christ first being established in the heart. While mankind may benefit from proximity to those connected to such divine provision of spirit, they can not intimately know themselves what is reserved for the individual until their own will is bowed in deference to the one who gently asks for permission to lead.

So it is here that the very best of man’s hours must be spent, at least if he is to find purpose in his chest: in manifesting the Kingdom on the earth by example of its qualities and invitation to its benefits.

In this manner of living there is no foundation left unexamined, no frontier left unattended. Every function of life, from artistic to political to recreational to compensational, each has speaking to it the mind of heaven, pointing to a pin prick of light on the horizon when once again mankind will walk with God in a Garden in the cool of the day.

If Christ’s return is summoned by the saturation of the Earth with the news of his sacrifice, then we both harken his return and, in so doing, establish more of his Kingdom by providing the Holy Spirit still greater room for expression in the Earth. Utterly astonishing is it that God’s Creation is the choice vehicle entrusted with seeking out hearts for him to dwell in and bodies for him to move through.

And so we look to cultivate Leaders, not Fanatics, Revolutionaries nor Pacifists, but rather those of noble purpose, slow to speak and quick to listen, who ever move the core of mankind back to its place of belonging, into what it was made for, and what was made for it—Leaders who have tears in their eyes and eternity on their hearts, and know the one for whom they were purposed. It is this superior method of life-living that is our highest calling and our greatest joy, and is the pathway for the Church to abandon her compelling need to be relevant as she becomes relevancy itself.

ch:

Thanks to Nathan Reimer for taking time away from this to proof.

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  • http://christiandfahey.wordpress.com/ Christian Fahey

    This is thoughtful and spot on, Christopher. “This is because, fundamentally, the Kingdom is not an it, but a who.” This sums up the fact, echoing the words of Jesus, that “the Kingdom of God is within you.” It is, therefore, a realm, a rule and a ruler. I’m reminded of the parable that says the Kingdom of heaven is like leaven hidden in a mix of meal. As a baker years ago, it comprised only 2-3% of an entire batch (2-3 lbs of yeast for about 110 lbs of dough). Yet it permeated the whole. I think this is what God intended when He created us. That Kingdom competence, values, thinking and execution would permeate all we do–not simply in “sacred” contexts and pursuits, but in every endeavor in the mundane–arts, science, finance, social structures, psychological challenges, all of it.

    I’m especially stirred by your highlighting of the extremes of the current powers that be (with their Kingdom antithesis) and the “revolutionaries” who, while wanting to bring meaningful change, alas hamstring themselves by ineffective methods and poor thinking. More heat than light. You might avail yourself of the fine work of M. Scott Peck. His book “The Road Less Traveled” is a modern classic and, frankly, changed my life two years ago when I read it. One of the follow-up works to this is “The Road Less Traveled and Beyond.” In it, Peck discusses the futilities and dangers of simplistic thinking, which he labels “simplism.” As much as we’d like life in this world to be simple, no-fuss-no-muss, black and white, it simply isn’t. Life is quite complex. And it is only through doing the sometimes astonishingly hard work of thorough thinking that we can meet these challenges. For Kingdom citizens, this means loving God with one’s mind, as well as heart.

    This is encouraging stuff, my friend, and opens up a Narnia of possibilities as we dig in use every faculty we have to show Kingdom reality. Wow.

    I have the above-mentioned works and you’re welcome to them. But you already knew that…. :-)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Very encouraged by your words, Christian. Thank you. I’m keen to explore the subject of yeast in the scriptures, both in the appositive which you mentioned above, as well as the negative––namely, Jesus’ warning of the leven of Herod and the leven of the Pharisees.

      M. Scott Peck – downloading to my iPad now.

      “[This] opens up a Narnia of possibilities as we dig in use every faculty we have to show Kingdom reality.” Printing this on a tshirt with an icon of a lion.

    • Kirk Gilchrist

      Great thoughts as usual Chris. I’d love to read that book, btw!

  • reenie

    WOW !!! You said it all in a nut shell. Relevance should always be the first priority of the Christian life – in that life, found in Christ, will be relevant only in and through Him ! Great Post !!!! So much to chew on yumm yummm :)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks, Reenie. Appreciate you reading and commenting. Always great to hear from you.

  • http://realmofhearts.blogspot.com/ Ryan Paige Howard (RyanHeart)

    As always Mr. Hopper… beautifully said! Your words flow like grace and really touch the heart. Always greatly blessed by your post, and happy to see you posting again.

    Oh, and to answer your last question on your upcoming book series from a few post back (I’m not as good as you are on responding back)…. Yes, I enjoyed your little teaser of it! I was actually going to write and ask you about it. Glad to hear you didn’t give up on it and the ENTIRE series is coming out this year! I can’t wait to read another epic tale from you! Please keep us posted on it! Teasers kill us, but deep down we love them.

    God’s care on you and your beautiful family. Keep writing, my friend! God is greatly using you in BIG ways.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      That’s incredibly kind of you, Ryan. Thank you.

      Teasers kill you, but you love them. Duly noted.

  • http://www.crmooney.com mooney

    What an epic series of posts. In the words of Po the Dragon Warrior, you have “mastered the art of bodacious and awesome!”

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Best compliment of the day. It’s so legendary that…it’s…legendary.

  • http://zolltech.com Kevin Zoll

    I apologize for the length. I had more, but decided to leave that for another post.

    Man is of 2 natures, 2 natures in constant opposition. We are both flesh and spirit. Our flesh is earthly in nature, and craves earthly things. If left unchecked, the wanton desires of our flesh will ultimately result in our destruction. Our spirit desires those things that are Godly in nature and leads to eternal life. Our spirit constantly looks to the Heavens and counter balances the wanton desires of the flesh. Thus it has been since the fall of Man and the expulsion, of Adam and Eve, from the Garden.

    Since, the expulsion, of Man from the Garden, we have had an insatiable desire to be ruled over. We are constantly seeking the peace and order, we innately feel deep in our spirit, that once existed. The perfect order and peace that can only be found in the presence of our Creator. However, as long as we allow our flesh to dominate our actions, we will never know the peace and order that our spirit knows once existed and will exist again.

    Man’s problem is not that he is of 2 natures, but that of Free Will. We are able to choose our path. We are able to choose between obedience or disobedience, between good and evil, between God and Man. We can choose to temporarily placate the desires of our flesh or we can choose to suppress our fleshly desires and further God’s plan for mankind. We can submit to the Rule of Man or submit to the Rule of God. Humanity finds it easier to submit to Man as this will satisfy our fleshly desires and will allow us to live in the here and now. We shy away from the Rule of God, because we know that to submit ourselves to God’s will, requires sacrifice and hardship. Something our flesh rebels against, as it does not satisfy our wanton desires and places the flesh in a subservient role.

    A Christian is someone who has learned to control his fleshly desires and has become more in tune with his spirit, and actively works to further the Kingdom of God. A person who has submitted themselves to God’s will. They have a singular purpose, that of carrying God’s message of salvation all over the world. The message that there is one that can bring the peace and order they so deeply desire. That Heaven and Earth will meet, again, and God’s perfect Kingdom will once again be established here on Earth as it once was in the Garden.

    So, how do we bring about establishing God’s Kingdom here on Earth? How, do we get there from this Earthly cesspool, of our own making? One must remember that we demanded an Earthly King. We demanded God appoint one of our own kind to rule over us. God granted our demands and established an Earthly Government controlled by Man. Now, not only must we contend with the constant struggle between flesh and spirit; we must now balance the demands of 2 Governments. The Government of Man and the Kingdom of God.

    This is where it get’s interesting. How do we know which Government to follow? Do we follow Man or do we follow God? Well, both. Unless the Government of Man is in opposition to God. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Render unto God that which is God’s. We asked for an Earthly Kingdom and God granted our request. Therefore the Government of Man is God ordained. To defy the Government of Man is to defy God. Unless, as stated earlier, the Government of Man is in opposition to the Will of God.

    How do you know when to defy the Government of Man? Well, that is quite simple. You are called to resist tyranny and oppression. You are called to defend the defenseless and weak. The hard part is discerning when you are to defy Man and his system of Government. How do you defy the Earthly Government, without being marginalized and silenced? You must lead. You must be a leader.
    You can not simply “Rage against the Machine”, doing so will label you as a lunatic. You can not constantly quote the Bible, doing so will label you as a fanatic; and you will be accused of wanting to establish a theocracy. You must provide leadership.

    Leadership, is defined, as the art of influencing others, by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish a given goal or task. Simply put, getting people to do things they otherwise would not do. There are two reasons why leadership is important. The first is it is your mission to further the Kingdom God. The desire to accomplish that mission despite all adversity is what makes the difference between success and failure. The second reason is, you must strive to become the very best leader you can be: God’s people deserve nothing less.

    • Kirk Gilchrist

      Great thoughts Kevin!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Man, yes to everything in here. Riddle with good stuff, Kevin. Thank you for adding this. I’m deeply encouraged and inspired. Thank you for your noble words.

  • http://www.mikekim.tv Mike Kim

    Great post, brilliantly written! (admittedly I’m a political noob)

    “Heaven summons prescriptions which appease the divine and mend the secular.” – seriously great line. If there’s anything I’ve learned about leading people, it’s that there is alot of gray: tough situations, too many of which involve the acceptance or toleration of say, the lesser of two evils. Leadership/governance is messy, and we deal with alot of the repercussions of sin which force us into said acceptances/toleration.

    Only God would know how to govern perfectly…not sure how those who do could endeavor to do so without Him.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Only God would know how to govern perfectly…not sure how those who do could endeavor to do so without Him.

      Well said. Thus my prayer for His guidance in our elected officials’ lives.

  • Gregory Bogart

    If one believes that our founding Fathers were guided by Divine wisdom and Provicence, as they plainly stated in all their public writings, then one can only conclude that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ prefer our Constitution over the Communist Manifesto! It is true, as you point out that the Kingdom of God has and will continue to prevail over every form of tyrannical government. It is also abundantly clear from scripture the God prefers that his people be lead by benevolent leaders whether they be kings or elected officials. This is why we are told to pray for our leaders-that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives free from the oppression of tyranny and persecution the his kingdom may be advanced unimpeded by wicked oppression. God sent prophet after prophet to plead with his own people Israel against their rebellion and rejection of his ways which always resulted in oppression, bondage and the loss of freedom and peaceful quiet living. These voices were deemed to be zealots, madmen, and fanatics and were rejected and killed by their own brethren and leaders. But every seemingly harsh and severe word they uttered was by the Spirit of God. The apostle Paul instructs Christians in Romans 11 to behold the goodness and severity of God the latter being an aspect of the nature of God that few today study to understand. As a result when voice of his severity begins to sound in his
    messengers they, as the prophets of old, are often marginalized and dismissed as misguided zealots and fanatics, and thus the message of God is killed. When a nation, particularly a nation professing to be Christian, falls to the place where it’s leaders begin to call evil good, and good evil, God in his goodness always sends forth those that will call evil what it is that the nation might return to what is truly good. We would be wise to inquire of God concerning the validity of a voice seemingly more harsh or severe than our own before we reject it outright and encourage others tomdomthe same lest we find ourselves opposing the voice of God. The voice of God’s severity is often a lonely one being unpopular among the prejudice of personal preference and paradigm even among those that say and do love God. When John the Baptist told Herod that he was guilty of adultery it cost him his head. But this strangely garbed fanatical lone voice in the wilderness was the very cry of God’s heart. Jesus told his disciples that the least in the kingdom of God would be greater than John. Maybe just maybe, when the least in the present generation of the Kingdom of God has boldness to call out our leaders for their sin, maybe just maybe, the whole of God’s people will be able to,lead,our nation back to God.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Gregory,

      Was Israel’s, and therefore the world’s course changed by the prophets who spoke to it? Or by the life-sacrifice of the One who died for it? I’m tremendously grateful for the model I’ve been given in the life-style of Jesus––loving those who persecute me, serving those who lead poorly, and laying my life down for those who are rank with sin. Whether confronting governments or taverns, he truly blessed without cursing (Romans 12:14) and overcame evil with good (Romans 12:21).

      Grateful for the example I’ve been given to follow.

      ch:

  • Gregory Bogart

    Dear brother,
    The nation of Israel’s course would have been changed if they would have listened to prophets. If they would have listened and confronted their national sin with repentance and revival their destruction by foreign kings would have been prevented which was the intent of God of speaking through them. Jesus, my example of kingdom life as well, would both speak kind and comforting words of love to the broken-hearted and down trodden to,heal and restore. But he also spoke the truth in love to his national leaders confronting their sin and it’s effect on the people. At one point he called them white washed sepulchres full of dead men’s bones; another time he told them they were of their father the devil (John 8:44). He said that he only spoke what he heard his father saying. So was Jesus wrong and a fanatic to speak these seemingly harsh but yet as we all know truthful words. Was he cursing them or was trying to lead them to the truth by confronting the evil in their own hearts. I know he still does this today because he has confronted the evil in my own heart by speaking honestly to me about me, yet at the same time reassuring me of his love for me. Brother, I believe you are a good man that truly loves the Lord. Hear what I am about to say. When Jesus the prophet rises up in a vessel,of HIS choosing He is abundantly aware of the areas of that vessels life that have yet to be conformed to the image of Christ. Yet He puts the treasure of Himself, manifest as a prophetic voice, in that earthly vessel precisely so the excellency of the power would be of Him. But the faults of the vessel do not nullify the voice of the Lord. Jesus told John to send a letter to the elders at Thyatira rebuking them for tolerating the sin of the woman Jezebel in heir midst. He told them that He had given her, in His goodness, space to repent but she did not and therefore they were to confront her with her sin. If they did not He would put her a sick bed and kill her children. Imagine if you would have been one of those elders-would you even believe that Jesus would say such a thing let alone do it? Imagine if you had been faithful and confronted her with what you knew to be the very words of Christ and she refused your admonition because she did not perceive both the goodness of God to those that obey and yet the severity of God to,those who don’t. When we fail to allow Him to reveal Himself to us in every aspect of His divine nature then whenever He manifests Himself in an aspect of His nature which we do not see, we often oppose that aspect of His nature. The result is we end up opposing the vessel He chose to send Himself in. After all, God manifested Himself in Jesus to the full measure and because the leaders of that day did not recognize the full measure of God the rejected God Himself whom they professed to love.

    I love you brother and know that you are pouring out the measure of Jesus in you with all,you have to this world so in need of
    Christ. Please be careful not to condemn a measure of the fullness Christ thatnyoundo not yet perceive!
    Many blessings to you, your beautiful family and your fruitful ministry,
    Sincerely,
    Your brother in Christ

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I think it’s worth noting Jesus was addressing religious leaders with the passages you mentioned above.

      Have a great day, Gregory.

    • Gregory Bogart

      Yes my dear brother he was! And President Obama declares Himself to be a Christian and therefore a Christian leads our nation therefore he is a Christian national leader. And as such he ought to obey and promote the ways of God which result in righteous, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit which is the Kingdom of God…and when he doesn’t he ought to be admonished by the elders of the body of Christ everywhere with kingdom discipline; and if he refuses to repent every pastor in America should refuse him into their fellowship until he does and, warn their people of his herodical leaven, and instructing every one their members to pray for his salvation and to resist and expose his evil policies where ever and whenever they are able to do so with the truth of God’s word. It is a good work to hate and resist evil where ever and in whom ever it is found, whether in the heart of church leaders, national leaders, and most importantly in our own hearts. Falling to the temptation to remain silent when evil is prospering will lead us and those we shepherd into the full weight of the consequences of our silence. Those religious national leaders that rejected both the words and works of Christ led their people into the national consequence of total destruction. If America is so proud that she thinks she can reject God and not suffer consequences she (her citizens) would do well to remember: pride comes before a fall.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Gregory,

      Clearly you and I disagree here, especially on the tone with which we’re addressing political and Biblical issues in our day; this is quite fine to me, as unanimous agreement is not the definition of unity. So we carry on pastoring and caring for those we’re entrusted; I bless you in your efforts. But given my readership, and not wanting to confuse them as to your elaborate dissertation, I have a few points I’d like to address.

      First, you emphasize the role of prophecy today used to both inform and correct national policy, as well as Christian leadership (which you place the President in the category of). May I ask who these Prophets are, specifically? And what leaders, specifically, are they accountable to as evidenced by their track record and willingness to accept correction?

      Secondly, the major problem I have with addressing national issues in such a manner, is that I simply can not see it in the life of Jesus. Based on your knowledge of the Roman Empire in the 1st century, was it corrupt? Did it enforce evil and anti-God policies? And was it worth standing up to based on truths we as Christians seem to esteem in 2013? I’ll assume for the sake of argument that you know more here than me: as such, even my limited understanding of history concludes with a resounding “yes, and worse” to the questions posed. And yet Jesus spent almost none of his time addressing Rome. I argue that his time was spent seeking and saving the lost; as such, so will mine. If we are to address governments, even those founded on “Godly principles” which some believe makes the US superior (and which I argue only the Kingdom is superior), it is to be through the same system which Jesus honored while he was hear: adhering to the imperfect means and methods of rulership which man himself has established, and abiding peacefully (in speech and action) by whatever transactions of reform are available to a populace.

      The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing example of addressing a Biblical issue (equality), never people, and of mobilizing a passive-resistance in accordance with the laws of the land. I’m glad we could honor him this week. Likewise, no one (least of all me) is suggesting we don’t speak our mind for the preservation of Biblical core values, abortion being just one example. But I can not violate other Biblical doctrines, such as the guidelines of what true love and wisdom are (pure, peaceful, long-suffering, kind, etc), simply to justify my righteous indignation. Aside from the women we’ve counseled not to go through with abortions, or my public proclamations of its error, I’ve had amazing encounters of bypassing the raging line of Christian protestors outside abortion clinics only to have fruitful, Jesus-centered discussions inside with women who needed Jesus but did not need the Christian without.

      In terms of your suggestion earlier of how we are to treat Christians who are uncorrectable, I couldn’t disagree more with you. The actual passage in Matthew 18 where you pull Jesus’ instructions from concludes with verse 17: “If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” To which I would simply ask, how did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors? He spent his very last breath sacrificing for repeat offenders.

      Lastly, I never mind discussion on this blog, as that’s what this comments section is for, but I kindly ask you not to make this personal, as you did when you said, “Please be careful not to condemn a measure of the fullness of Christ that you do not yet perceive!” It is presumptuous of you to assume that you know me or my perceptions on the gifts of prophecy based on my asking you a single question.

      ch:

  • Kirk

    Great read as usual Christopher. I love the thought of the Kingdom being what is truly important (and how to find and live it) and I’m somewhat concerned by those that forget that. One of these days I’ll actually write about the absolute lack of flaw in the Scripture we love and the flaws in any other man made document. For another day -but in the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed your very intellectual and spirit led read. Thanks!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks for the input, Kirk.

      You mean the Constitution isn’t a perfect, God-breathed document?