While We Sleep: The Guns of August

When one of my children is sick, nothing else matters to me. The world and the world’s troubles seem far away and I want to mind my own business. Wisdom is to be found in this attitude: I am not God and the cares of the globe are too great for me. We cannot always be awake to the world, their are seasons where we slumber from all of that and deal with our home cares.

And yet there is a balancing truth: global problems ignored can harm me. Ignorance may be bliss, but the bliss can be undermined by ignorance. When a nomadic tribe in the East gained a powerful leader, the Russian state was doomed before they even knew it. We are right to wish to mind our own business, but sometimes we cannot.

While England and America enjoyed the summer of 1914, an idyllic time old folks told me, forces in Europe doomed that culture to destruction. The fall was terrible and voices warning of the trouble were ignored. The grocer minding his own business in West Virginia, full of family cares, would soon lose a son “over there.” He missed the drums of doom in the sleepiness of private concerns.

We have a liability that my great-grandfather did not: every day new stories flood my Feedly. I sleep without rest, numbed by the torrent of news. The drums of doom are mixed up with the rhythms of entertainment culture and frivolousness. Dissent is made difficult by the rapid formation on new media of a social consensus and the bitter, vulgarity that descends on any person who strays from the home page of those who already agree. And yet dissent is necessary for dialog and dialog is necessary or the knell of doom will become background noise to our individual problems: easily ignored.

Here are five things happening now requiring concentrated attention from Christians:

Abortion is still legal in the United States and a culture of death spreads.

If killing continues, will anyone care? We must, because the culture of death spreads through our callousness to any human. We risk becoming people who wish to know how many people we may kill and not how few we must kill.

Christian values are rejected, even as ideals in our nation. 

Americans have never lived up to the ideals of the Christian majority, but it was possible to say: “You should not do what you are doing” with widespread agreement. Politicians hid their vice, because they acknowledged it was vice and so were forced to moderate their plunder. Glorying in immoderate appetites is different than struggling with them. Victorian Americans sometimes made some Ideal the enemy of the good;  taking hope from all of us sinners unable to live up to the Ideal. Obamaian Americans increasingly are making their own definition of the good life the enemy of God’s goodness; taking hope that many will stop being sinners.

Christians are being killed all over the world by growing hate groups. 

Today Christians are dying in Iraq. Today Christians are dying in Syria. Today Christians are dying in North Korean camps. All my personal problems pale in the face of this crisis for my brothers and sisters.

A group of Americans receive bad education, bad culture, bad medical care, bad access to opportunity and justice.

Groups of Americans have bathed in vulgarity provided at no cost while receiving an education not worth the cost. Government provides housing not fit for human habitation and policing that is both inadequate and brutal. The welfare state has failed this group totally. Meanwhile, some face as much as five years shorter life span just because of their medical care. Some Americans are risk arrest and are denied access to the good things in life for bad reasons. Sadly, far too many people trapped in this sub-culture are there because of race.

Argue about the solutions, I prefer community based small government solutions, but we cannot forget the problem.

Every person will die and face judgment.

All of this would be bad enough if Christians thought this life was the end! If we must live in the Kingdom now, we must also invite everyone to the Kingdom to come. God exists, He judges, and we all need to seek His grace to face eternity with hope and eternity is coming. I look at myself and ask for God’s grace and pray that God reveal Himself to my family and neighbors.

I want to have joy now and absolute joy in all the Tomorrow’s coming.





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