Saturday, April 21, 2007

7th Day 21st 2007

Dear Friends,

Three items of news caught my attention this past week. One of them is well-known to most, and that is the tragedy at Virginia Tech, while the other two may not be so well-known. On PBS this past week, there was a report about the ecological disaster of commercial fishing. Of interest is the fact that over 90% of the ocean's large fish have been harvested in the past 30 years. Commercial fishing is not a "mom and pop" operation, for the most part, rather it is an industry with huge ships, factories that ply the waters, destroying the natural environment and discarding an obscene number of marine wildlife in pursuit of the most desirable ocean fish, and other seafood, in the developed world. In addition to this ecological disaster is the human cost--almost 1/3 of the population in the developing world depends on ocean fish for its sole source of protein, which means that the depletion of the ocean has its greatest impact on the weakest and poorest. I could not help but think of the words spoken by the Prophet Hosea, chapter 4: 1-3:

Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of
land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying,
and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore
shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and
with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.

The reasons for this, and other ecological problems, are many, but the core reason is little if ever mentioned or discussed--the sins of killing, greed, idolatry (literal and metaphorical), nationalism, selfishness, and so on. Until this core reason is admitted, is faced and dealt with through repentance and coming under the government of Christ Jesus in the heart and in one's conduct, all other solutions will be nothing more than Band-Aids. The sin of Adam and Eve was the desire and the act of going their own way and choosing to place their wills in subjection to the Adversary of their souls rather than God--disobedience to the voice of the Shepherd of Israel.

The second item, story of NPR about the new Reaper drone--an air force drone that can seek out and drop bombs and kill "targets" while being controlled by specially trained pilots anywhere in the world. Each of these drones cost $8,000,000. NPR interviewed one of the pilots in training, a fighter pilot chosen for this new duty. He described this new job as less "sexy," but it would enable him to "complete my missions and be home for dinner at night with my wife." I was shocked by this, not that I haven't heard such statements before, but it struck me, and it angered me, and it saddened me. Again I though of the above quote from Hosea. Again, the core reason reason for such callousness is the same--it is sinful disobedience and worldly lust disguised as honor, and duty, and truth.

The final story related to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. One of the survivors was interviewed on the evening news, and it was his forgiveness of the young man who killed himself after killing 32 others. He wished that he had been able to speak to and try to help in some way the young man who shot him. The tv reporter remarked and asked him if he knew how crazy this sounded. This reminded me of the some of the remarks about the Amish community's response to the shooter at the Nickel Mines school--it was seen as beyond understanding, strange, even unnatural. There were those who saw this response as a beautiful example of true Christianity, but it is my experience that even these folks saw this as beyond the ability of most people living in the larger world--this is the same as those who claim that the Sermon on the Mount is for some future point, and that God's commandments are for that future time. I was encouraged to hear what this young man said about forgiving and reaching out. It speaks of what we know, that there is a Light that enlightens every man that comes into the world--Christ Jesus the Word of God.


Robert -- I share your concerns on these and other matters. And I think it is an important distinction that we look for the solutions to these and other challenges in the Spirit rather than in government intervention and regulation. Governments made up of people full of self-interest and pride can not solve these problems. In order to affect the nature of the world, we must yield and allow ourselves to be made anew!

In the Light of Christ,
~ Charles Rathmann
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