Thoughts on the Anniversary of a War
We seem to be living in a time when we have acquired an Empire on which the sun never sets, and have lost a Republic on which the sun never rises.
Forgetful that our nation was founded upon the ideal of a limited, constitutional government, and proclaiming the “wonder-working power” of democracy in place of the Gospel, we strut along in self-absorbed importance.
God has always laughed at the antics of carnal men; He does so still today. Unlike God, Americans rejoice in the rise of institutions and instruments of power, of empires rising from the dross. We seek endlessly the fantasies of the ego, of power and success, of our insatiable appetites.
One of the great attractions to me of Christianity is its absurdity. In purely human terms, it is ridiculous to think that a person (or a nation, for that matter) could be transformed not by political or military means but by a simple message expounded two thousand years ago. Nicodemus thought it was absurd that a man could return to his mother’s womb and be born again, yet precisely that happens all the time. It happens whenever mortal men acknowledge their own wickedness and are drawn into the kingdom of heaven.
Far from admitting our mortality and our dependence upon our Creator and Redeemer, we believe in establishing our own little kingdoms on earth through mortal means. In return, God freely grants us what we want – our Gulags, our hubristic empires, democracy without end, Amen.
For me personally, as I reflect upon the second anniversary of our invasion of Iraq, I cannot imagine a more ribald example of how far we have departed from our biblical and constitutional moorings. We have been enticed, like the foolish Galatians (Gal. 3:1), into forgetting that “all the world is a grain of sand” (to quote Blake) – a mere speck in relation to the totality of God’s creation. We prefer instead the beguiling lies of Orwell’s Newspeak and Doublethink.
“All the word’s a stage,” said Shakespeare, but today the opposite is true. All the stage is a world, presented by our co-opted media that purports to traffic in news but actually purveys propaganda in living color. Only, occasionally, do vague doubts assail us, but in the end who would dare challenge Groupthink? The best educated and certainly the richest population in the world has become a fathomless reservoir of credulity.
I find it fascinating that most Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was connected with 9/11 and had WMD – despite proof to the contrary and even the admission of the administration. And woe betide the gainsayers! It reminds me of the time when Don Quixote secured the release of a group of galley slaves, and the first thing they did was to pelt him with stones.
The precise motives that induce human beings to prefer comforting lies to the disturbing truth are impossible for me to unravel. I am horrified to note it, but I am utterly incapable of explaining it. As a defender of the Old Constitution, I sometimes feel like a piano player in a brothel, whose repertory includes hymns intended to get the attention of distracted clients and inmates. It’s like making bricks without an oven, or growing lemons without a tree.
Still, over the past months and years, here and abroad, I have been wholly preoccupied with talking about the reality of Christ in contradistinction to the hubris and fantasy so evident on every hand. I cannot speak for anyone else, but for myself, I have only recourse: and that is to flee to the Lover of my soul and find my rest in Him.
March 18, 2005
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. If you would like to know more about becoming a follower of King Jesus, please feel free to write Dave.