Friday, May 20, 2005

Oh, how we are tired and boring.

I'm going to say something, and then I want you to tell me whether or not you guys agree with it. Comments are okay, but full-fledged posts with fire and swearsies would be better. Ready? Here goes.

All of the specific things you hate about this life exist because of the failure of the Church.

Is this true or not? How can it be worded better in order to make it true? Or should I just flush it down the crapper and start over? I want to write volumes on this topic, but I'd like to have a real conversation about it before I even try. Maybe some examples are needed to get the ball rolling.

September 11th - Because of the Church's failure to find a way to co-exist peacefully with the faith of Islam (going back hundreds of years), we encouraged Muslim extremists to take out their frustration with our non-efforts by committing acts of violence.

AIDS in Africa - Because of the Church's stigma against AIDS in the 80s and 90s (it being a homosexual problem and all), we ignored an AIDS problem in Africa until it became the epidemic it is today.

Globalization/McWorld - Because the Church was so intent on defeating the problem of atheist Communism with the promise of democracy and the free market, we are now only beginning to question whether or not capitalism is even all that Biblical.

Genocide in Germany and Rwanda - Because the Church is famous for preaching a Gospel that props up those in power, it has failed on multiple occasions to stand up for the weak and powerless until much too late, while millions of lives have been lost.

Hunger/Poverty - Because the Church can't quite seem to grasp the entire teachings of Jesus, 800 million people still go to bed hungry every night.

Yes, the Church has done/is currently doing some amazing things. But when we've had 2,000 years to work on some of these things, don't you think we've had the potential (this side of the Second Advent) to do a bit better? Sure, sin still screws things up all over the globe every day. But when the Church fails to use its vast resources to combat sin, who is really to blame?

Or maybe I'm just being a giant ass. That happens from time to time. Let me know.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

"Thou art ever nigh, guarding with watchful eye, To thee aloud we cry, God save the state!"

Somehow I have stumbled across an small item titled the "Armed forces devotional book." It's not the complete gold mine my cynical, arrogant, military hatin' heart would have hoped for but it does have some gems. Here is a prayer calledA soldiers prayer before battle:

Dear God, You know that I must now go out into combat. You know that I would rather keep out of it, but that this is no longer possible. O heavenly Father, because You have placed me in this duty, I know that it is God-pleasing. I know that You have called me to serve my nation. My First Loyalty is to You, then to my country, for Your sake. I thank You that You have graciously called me to this honorable work, to protect and preserve life, if need be even by fighting. I know that this is not sinful, but righteous and obedient according to your will. I have learned from your word that our works cannot save us, neither can military service. So I will not put my trust in our righteous cause, but in your grace. I will not rely on my mission to earn me heaven, but I will perform this duty as a service to your will. Enable me to believe with all my heart that the only innocent blood of you dear Son, my Lord Jesus Christ, obediently shed for me according to your gracious will, can save me. In faith, Lord, I will go forward, wage war, do all that has to do with war, and if need be die. Dear God and Father, preserve and strengthen this faith in me through your holy spirit. Into your hands I commend my body and soul. Amen!

Don't worry good soldier, you're just doing your duty to your country and that is always in accordance with Gods will! Even when doing "all that has to do with war."

Along the same lines and taking some of the things from the first prayer is this better titled prayer, "Before any dangerous operation or Battle:

heavenly father, You know that I must now go into harms way- into a very dangerous situation or into actual combat. I know that you are very near me. Protect me according to your good and gracious will. Graciously forgive all the sins and wrongs that I have done. Enable me to believe with all my heart that only the innocent blood of your dear son, Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, can redeem and save me. In this faith, Lord, I will go forward. Give me the courage and strength I need to wage war, to do all the that has to do with war, and to trust completely in You, that whether I live or die, I am yours, with you, in your care, now and eternally. Go with me Lord. Go with us all. Amen.

Again that vague "do all that has to do with war" pops up, I wonder what that really means?

There is also a prayer called, "While deployed" of which here are a couple good lines:

Lord God, heavenly father, ruler of all, I pray that you would bless and strengthen me now during this deployment. You have given me a high calling-to serve you as a military service member and help establish freedom and peace, if necessary even by fighting for it. I ask for you blessing in this work you have set before me. Help me and my unit to training well and our best. Keep us safe. Bless our leaders. Keep us morally strong.

Then later it has a section of psalms with different themes and it actually lists psalms 91 and 46 as "military" psalms (Psalm 46 is the one about God destroying and breaking all weapons!)

Anyway, aside from those sections and a few more and the fact that it unironically contains a description of Thou shalt not murder as not causing anyone bodily harm and has a section about loving enemies, its not such a bad little nationalistic prayer book.

I think my new motto is: "I have learned from your word that our works cannot save us, neither can military service."