On August 6, 1945 the Enola Gay dropped a nuclear bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Almost 50,000 people died that day and approximately 40,000 or more over the next several years. Or in spiritual terms we love to say we believe - tens of thousands of souls went into a Christless eternity. Estimates concerning the injured were well over 100,000. Mankind had produced a weapon that could kill massive amounts of people in the space of less than an hour. Today nuclear weapons can kill many millions in the same amount of time.
But within the last decade America has produced unmanned aircraft that can be operated from within an air conditioned room. A trained person can maneuver the aircraft with just a joystick while looking at a computer screen and enjoying a coffee latte. Killing has become impersonal and assassination style through an electronic vehicle. This trained drone operator can kill several people, still go to the gym, and then meet his ex-wife at his son’s Little League game. It is so very American. We have now come up with a system of killing that does not even interfere with our everyday lives.
Long ago we have been able to bring the war in real time right into the American home. While munching on chips we can watch all the pretty antiaircraft tracers and we can hear the explosions of the bombs. While carnage is occurring we get to watch it in 3-D color. People are being blown to bits and it is brought to you in living color and sponsored by Toys-R-Us and the Vitamin Shoppe. The American ingenuity has once again prevailed. I mean think of what could have happened if we had this technology many years earlier?
We might have seen firsthand a major Indian battle and went to bed with the knowledge that the white man continues to win. Some investigative reporter could show us the skulls of freshly scalped soldiers and that could inflame us further concerning our outrage at how savage these Indians are. I mean come on. Scalping? How primitive. Hand grenades are much more civilized! And who do these Indians think they are anyway? Why would you kill people to defend and protect your way of life? Again, uneducated savages.
We could have watched live as slave ships docked in South Carolina, and there may have even been an online auction. Mastercard and Visa accepted. We could have watched a live lynching as they hung some poor black man. Perhaps Bob Costas could have interviewed the executioner before and after and he could express his desire to become a better executioner. We could have watched live the Battle of Gettysburg and seen thousands of men killed and their bodies strewn all over the battlefield. They would have had an on screen counter as they attempted to number the fallen. We could have also TiVo’d it for future watching.
The average American household could have watched El Alamein or Normandy or Iwo Jima. I mean we could switch back and forth between shocking carnage and the Word Series game. And it might have been interesting as we dispassionately watched utter mayhem with our chair in recline, but we quickly stand to our feet and point to the TV because of a bad call at second base! Wow, densensitized to the core.
And in the midst of this new antiseptic drone technology, and true to form, the politicians parade all sorts of hypocrisy. The Democrats who would normally throw a tantrum about things like this are a bit more restrained since it is President Obama who has made drones a major military force. And the same Republicans that were cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion are now acting as if they have a conscience about killing. Yes, the American political scene appeals to the partisan nature of people and ears hear what they want to hear.
But we have now reached greater heights as it pertains to killing without being inconvenienced. And in a stunning display of America cunning, the practice of what they call a “double tap” is sometimes employed. That means that when people hear a bomb and normally rush to see what happened and help those in need, we sometimes drop another bomb in order to elevate the level of terror. Wow, now that’s American exceptionalism at its very best! And all this directed from the comfort of a padded chair and within driving distance from your home. Many who rail against violent video games have no objection to drone strikes. In fact, the greater the buffer zone between killing people and knowing who they are the better. And if it means entering a sovereign nation’s airspace with whom we are not at war, so be it. Heaven help any nation that attempts to enter our airspace to seek out their enemies.
Ok, if you don’t get the picture by now you probably never will. But what is my overall point? I am openly and forcefully suggesting that all this is fallen and can never be the way of Jesus. But look how we have invented our own convoluted message that takes the words and teachings of Jesus and renders them ineffective and even irrelevant as it pertains to the greater interactions of men. In fact, we openly suggest that being an American trumps being a follower of Jesus even though we attempt to create some sort of dispensation that allows for killing and mayhem and still claims to follow Jesus.
And instead of the Old Testament being a prophetic portal that leads to the ultimate revelation of Jesus Christ, we take the Old Testament and use it as a template for behavior when it is associated with nations. But if the teachings of Jesus are not absolute, and if they can be ignored under certain circumstances, then they are of no greater value than those of Mark Twain. If we can pick and choose which truths we obey at which times, than instead of Jesus being God, we are. And in reality when we treat His teachings with such personal subjectivity we conveniently remove any real sacrifice for obedience.
So the “love your enemies” stuff can be confined to personal interaction? Of course its value and strength is even severely lacking in those circumstances. But “forsake all” is just a Hallmark Card saying? “Do good unto them which despitefully use you” stops at the Declaration of Independence? “Lose your life for My sake and you will find it" is just some ethereal anecdote? This is spiritual treason at its zenith!
It costs something to follow Christ. And if that is so, then how can tens of millions of professing believers be so comfortable and so unremarkable within a culture of darkness and death? Well the answer is painful and almost inconceivable. The expression of Christianity widely accepted in America is not Christianity at all.
Matt.7: 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Now it is no coincidence that these words were spoken right after these:
Matt.7: 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Throw out all the rest of Scripture and just commit to unconditionally obeying the Sermon on the Mount and you may well be ostracized from fellowship. But if we all just did that the world just may see some light. If what the church practices today is authentic Christianity then so be it. But please do not quote Jesus anymore. So what am I saying? What does it matter what a nobody like me is saying. What is God saying. Selah.