Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Our Spring vacation, which began in Texas, ended with a wonderful Easter dinner with extended family.  We spent part of our time together watching the finale of the miniseries, The Bible, on the History Channel.  Someone in the room commented on the viciousness of the Romans.  Another agreed, and said it is no different today with the Muslims in the Holy Land.  I thought how misguided it is to pin cruelty on any one group.  No one in this world has ever cornered the market on brutality.  Every people who has come and gone on this tormented planet--yes, I include America--has had a proud history of barbarism.  Indeed, those in the room commenting on Rome and the Middle East, proudly support the American military machine.  They do so, as did so many church members throughout the many centuries past, because they hold with Augustine of sixteen hundred years ago the belief in the possibility of a just war.

Last week I was reading through the proceedings of a trial of several people who had committed war crimes at Auschwitz concentration camp.  Witness after witness came forward to implicate each of the men of horrific atrocities.  And each of the defendants unabashedly denied any guilt of or even involvement in any of the crimes mentioned.  The closest any of these butchers came to a confession was the closing statement of one who said something to the effect of, "I believed in National Socialism, and I was loyal to my Fuhrer. I guess I was wrong."  I wonder if he really meant he felt remorse for the things he had done, or if he was simply stating he must had been mistaken because the Nazis lost the war.

One of the things that struck me about Texas is there is a church and three signs on every street corner.  The three signs read in various incarnations, "I don't call 911," "My gun does my talking," and "Love your enemy but keep your gun oiled."

Somehow, we have lost sight of the Gospel of Christ.  Most of us have yet to leave the wilderness Christ paid such a heavy cost to save us from, and fully enter His Kingdom.  Most of us still believe peace can only come to this world from out of the barrel of a gun.  God tells us otherwise.  As Brian Zahnd explains in his book, Beauty Will Save the World, true peace will only come through love and forgiveness; and God proved this by raising Jesus from the dead.

Today, I read a review of Al Gore's new book, The Future.  In it he discusses the six drivers at work to change the fate of humanity: 1) The emergence of a Global economy, 2) The emergence of a Global Mind, 3) A shift in Global power from West to East and from the individual to the Corporation, 4) Rapid population growth with concomitant depletion of resources, 5) Powerful new technologies to manipulate matter and life itself, and 6) Human impact on the environment.  I find it difficult to disagree with his prognostications.  I wonder, though, if Mr. Gore has adjusted his lifestyle sufficiently to make a positive difference in any of these categories.  Whether he has or hasn't certainly doesn't alter the veracity of his claims.  In any event, I am the last person to pass judgment on him because I certainly don't do all I can to remedy any of these vital concerns, let alone others.

All of which brings me to an excellent article that appeared in the April, 2013 issue of Christianity Today.  In this taut piece, Marguerite Shuster attempts to answer the question, "Did God plan the Fall?"  Or to put it another way, "Why is there evil and sin in the world?"  As far as I am concerned, the answer comes in the first two paragraphs, where she relates an incident of about hundred years ago when a reporter asked the famous theologian/philosopher, G.K. Chesterton (my bud), "What's wrong with the world?"  Chesterton purportedly answered, "I am."  


Harry Shields said...

Here is why we need to "preach the gospel to ourselves everyday. We see other people's sins but not our own propensity to barbarism. Thanks for the subtle reminder. Harry