Month: May 2011

“I’m American. I don’t get it.”

2004-vacation-0951.jpgWhy do Russian men kiss each other on the lips?  Why don’t Europeans bathe more regularly?  Why do Aussies like vegemite?  I’m American, I don’t get it.

The recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton caught global attention transporting me back to 1981 when Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer.  Even then I was perplexed by the notion that anyone would wake up in the middle of the night just to watch all of the pomp and circumstance.  In today’s world at least DVR makes it possible for the scores of people who planned to watch to be able to observe the nuptials at a more convenient hour.

After all of the hullabaloo surrounding the Charles and Diana debacle this new marriage holds even less interest for me.  Is it because I have no sense of romantic elegance or glamour?  (I am at heart a romantic, just ask my wife).  Is it because I can’t comprehend the institution of a monarchy?  (We do have the Kennedy’s)  Am I too well grounded to see the value in all of this opulence around one young couple’s initial staggering steps into “real” life?  Doubtful.  I have rarely been accused of being “well-grounded”.  I suppose that the biggest curiosity for me is to see how Miss Middleton handles the “morning after”.  I am confident that she has been extensively prepared for the responsibilities of royal familydom but I am equally confident, as with any marriage, that all of the preparation in the world will not spare her from surprise after surprise after challenging surprise of blue blood life.

I acknowledge that monarchies today differ from those of the past; they are more symbolic and less powerful but they do provide visibility and awareness of various good will causes and they also provide entertainment ranging from the embarrassing (Di & Fergie goosing men at Ascot with their parasols) to the down right scandalous (Camilla Parker Bowles’ taped phone communications with Prince Charles).  Again, in America we have the Kennedy’s and even better we have Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Spears & Celebrity Apprentice.

At the end of the day, it seems to me that all of this is really just a form of idol worship.  Common man worshipping somebody else because, well, because, well, I really don’t know why.  Besides that, when I think of the number of people who don’t attend weddings to which they are invited why go to all the trouble of viewing a wedding to which you weren’t invited?  In western civilization the official party line is that we are all created equal and yet strangely because someone’s blood test reveals a shade of periwinkle they deserve to have accountants and artists, cashiers and cab drivers pony up for the party of the century; a party to which most of the benefactors weren’t even invited!

It really does seem silly to me.  We’re Americans; we’ll just keep on worshipping ourselves.

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“Evil is Dead, Long Live Evil!”

2004-vacation-0951.jpgWhen my kids were growing up we found it necessary from time to time to discipline them and yes, we would implement corporal punishment when indicated.  I hated when we had to do this.  While discipline was a necessary component of our parenting, I would never punctuate it with a fist pumping victory dance.  I grieved that it had to be done…but it did have to be done.

I responded to the news of Osama bin Laden’s demise with a solemn sigh of relief.  I won’t rejoice in an eye for an eye.  I acknowledge that justice was necessary but the joyful response from many is little more than a gross satisfaction of bloodlust.  Let us not lose sight of the fact that the actions, admittedly reprehensible, by bin Laden were in response to his own sense of violation and attack from “outsiders”.  The darkness that drove him to commit his many atrocities is the same hateful evil that motivates many westerners to pop a cork and raise a glass in celebration of this recent remedy…it is a toxic cocktail of fear and hate that brings us to this point.  Osama bin Laden was driven by a sense that he and his world had been and continued to be unjustly attacked and a sense that what he was doing was right as twisted as that may sound it is a logical response to his sense of injustice.  Therefore he responded in much the same manner as we have responded to his actions.  Justice is necessary to forestall anarchy but the meting out of justice over one individual or one offense does not serve to rid the world of evil…which can be found neatly tucked away in our collective selfish nature.

Osama bin Laden is gone; evil, terrorism and al-Qaida are not.  Perhaps one day we will comprehend the necessity of combating hatred itself rather than specific individuals, regardless of their character or deeds, through the pursuit of love.  (To love people does not concede approval of their actions)  Naïve?  Absolutely; but I will not relinquish my hope for the best…the desire of God that “no one should perish, but come to repentance”.  Hatred cannot defeat hatred and darkness cannot defeat darkness.  It would be like using anthrax to heal a rattlesnake bite.  Darkness is only overcome by light and hatred only by love.

I salute those who made the difficult decisions, painstaking and diligent research and assumed immeasurable risk to carry out this action in defense of our free world.  I can and do express my gratitude however I cannot celebrate what is ultimately just another manifestation of the malevolent nature that is inside all of us.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

-Ephesians 6:12-