Friday, May 04, 2007

"Love It or Leave It!"

I have made a mistake in coming to America. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people. Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice in security.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, on returning to Germany in 1939

What if loving it means to will its defeat? We face the choice of Dietrich Bonhoeffer today in the US - the author of the first great genocide of the 21st century, the continuation and acceleration of the closing genocide of the 20th under Bill Clinton. Three years after the Abu Ghraib photos, the National Association of Evangelicals got around to saying there is something wrong with torture. Would we have seen even that pitiful result if the empire were winning? Like those Germans who conformed to Hitler, are Christians here real disciples to any degree if they can't say no to mass murder and those who practice it, who befriend torturers knowing that their fathers killed Jesus in just that way?

In our Bibles we read that God's people were often enticed to serve Molech and other gods that drink the blood of children, and so it is not new to see American Christians enamored of the militarism that devours thousands of American children along with the hundreds of thousands of ragheads that they can't be bothered counting. But God always rescued his people from spreading their legs to the demons in those times by bringing calamity on them and on their gods of bloodshed. Surely the only hope that Christians in the US will find some redemption from their thralldom to this world is to be humiliated in their bloody-handed adultery by the failure of the worldly power that they adore.

But if I am going to say such truth, don't I have to say it here among them? It is here that some have to find the courage to stand in the truth of Christ, and so here is where I must do so if I am to do my duty.

The assault on my son, most recently by his psychologist and his mother, in order to impose upon him the modern drug culture so as not to actually have to love him and fight for him, warns me what the world will do to me if I dare to walk in truth. I know there's lots more where this came from. I can understand why anyone would want to make a deal rather than having to endure these floods of Belial, as Palm 18 describes it.

But indeed it is easier to stand than to fall down before wickedness, because it is easier to face the world's worst with God than to have the easiest ride without him. However difficult it may seem, the Christian life never works except as far as it becomes the way of least resistance.

"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

Over 30 years ago, a friend of my mother asked me, "How can I not be a shithead?" I didn't have a good answer for her, and six months later she took a shameful course and wrecked her life. You remember failures like that. That's a question it's worth working a lifetime to get the answer to, for myself and others. Do I have a good enough answer? I'm afraid not yet. But I'm working on it, as you're reading here.



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