Sunday, September 1, 2013

Will the real Obama please stand up? As did MLK Jnr, and as did Christ on Calvary

So the drums of war are beating again. And involving a most unlikely drummer. Barack Obama who campaigned on an anti-war,  inter alia,  platform during the run up to that famous victory which left few persons dry-eyed in Grant Park in Chicago on November 4, 2008, when Stevie Wonder's " Sign Sealed Delivered"  echoed the feelings in the hearts of millions of people across the world.

For make no mistake, Obama's victory transcended the hopes and aspiration of Americans, of African Americans in particular, and represented the dreams of conscious and peace loving people across the globe. After George Bush, et al including Karl Rove, after the doctrine of preemptive strikes, after the yet  to found weapons of mass destruction, Obama was a breath of fresh air.

So what's up then with this urgent need to wage war against this admittedly corrupt and wicked even, Syrian regime, which may have committed unspeakable atrocities against its own people? Why this seemingly indecent haste, when the end game is not well defined - punish the perpetrators without setting the captives free? Why the decision to go it alone, even with congressional support, when there is no consensus at the UN. No worldwide support! Why wage war again when Iraq is still unstable! When Afghanistan is still unstable! When the " Arab Spring" may very well be entering a " winter of discontent" with confusion, if not anarchy threatening.

Is this Obama ' revealed', the real Obama, or is there a 'hidden hand' at work tugging him like a puppet?  And to what end! Many, including myself, still believe that he is a sincere human being trying to right wrong wherever he sees it. From his own perspective!  But is he a follower or a leader?  A question which may very well  have led some to question, for example, whether he has done more for gays than for even black Americans, because of the economic power that group wields. And so as the British would say, " they punch well above their weight" - in numbers.

How would a Martin Luther King Jnr, whose epic march on Washington was celebrated last week, have dealt with the Gay marriage?  What advice would a MLK, if he were alive today, give to this young leader of the most powerful nation on earth? Would he have urged caution, or decisive action? We will never know. Perhaps there is ' something out there" about which we have no idea, which is at the bottom of all of this talk about war. Perhaps, as the lawyers say, " there are more and better particulars" to come. In the meanwhile we pray for peace.

So what did The God of  Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Martin Luther King Jnr, of Barack Hussein Obama say to his people this week, a midst the drum roll?

One message came, in two parts,  from the  Book of Ecclesiasticus,from which the Old Testament reading for this Sunday was taken.  And which triggered a Tweet and a e-mail to a few selected folks in Jamaica and in the US

PART ONE My son, do not engage in too many transactions;if you attempt too much you will come to grief. Ecclesisasticus 11:10. A message for OBAMA PART TWO This one is too long to tweet. But it is just as pointed. It does not mean that civilized  people should not seek to root out manifest and egregious acts of evil wherever it manifests itself. In order to protect civilization, but one has to be careful and wise. This is the balance that the USA needs achieve. I was very struck by a comment posted on nationwidenewsnetwork  facebook page last night and read by George Davis. " Who died". and appointed the USA to be policeman of the world.?"

"The Government of the world is in the hand of The Lord;
at the right time he appoints the man to rule it.
In The Lord's hand is all human success;
it is he who confers honour on the legislator."  10:4-5

All of this triggered by a reading of the OT passage appointed in my church for this Sunday during my devotions this morning.

Sent from my iPad One of the things that a child of God has to grapple with constantly, and more so when he or she has responsibilities as a leader, is who is ultimately in charge of the world? Who spoke it into being? Who sustains it? And who will bring it all to an end one day? The real answer to these question constitute one of the many reasons why those who do not wish to be under the sovereign rule of God, constantly add fuel to the argument that The Creation Story and Evolution are incompatible. Which as we read more and more those who have a mind to write on such matters, is not true at all. The point here is that President Obama, with his well meaning determination to " draw a line in the sand " , in respect of the use of poison gas by any nation in this civilized era, has to come to terms with the reality that America ought not to, and does not have the capacity to, be the ' policeman of the world". Does that mean that another Hitler should not be stopped in his tracks early, before irreparable damage is done to mankind? And that God will take care of the matter! What I read into this text, and others may read something else, is a strong warning for America to be careful how it extends itself in wars across the globe. As one day it may come to grief. Just like Rome. Or Greece. Of ancient times. And more importantly, " Blessed is the nation whose God is the God of Jacob". A warning that perhaps, America needs to put its own house in order, as it looks abroad to right wrongs there. And we full agree that with the old bard, William Shakespeare that " something is (very) rotten in the state of Denmark ( read Miley Cyrus and her moral meltdown). Another message came from an article I read in Christianity today, on a friend's facebook page. This, coming after learning about Miley Cyrus....I had no idea she even existed before reading about her on Twitter. And the context in which the article was tweeted by some one who I follow, Eric Metaxas, was the cynical manipulation of the media by owners who wish to ' bring' people on to their website, so that they may charge more for their ads. And as the article intimated, Miley Cyrus was placed on the headlines, not for the importance of the news, but purely for profit. Interestingly this is the very point of a discussion I had with a conscious Rasta friend this week, who cited George Orwell's 1984, his follow up to the more famous " Animal Farm", as a prophetic work heralding the way the media would be used to manipulate public opinion. And which manipulation, in his opinion is at the heart of Obma's/America's ..maybe there is a difference...drums of war. Despite all of these issues of morality, going deep into the life of the American people, and no doubt the Syrians too, I read the following message and was moved to make the comment below. And which plea for forgiveness, I believe goes to the heart of the Christian faith. And to the Cross of Calvary.

I am learning more about Miley Cyrus from the link below...and about mercy and forgiveness...amazing how the Lord's leads you to " rescue the perishing". Even on facebook.

Jesus Loves Miley Cyrus

AUG 282013
Everyone’s shocked and offended over her VMA performance. As Christians, we can offer another response.
hat's left to say about Miley?
The former tween star's already-notorious performance at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards has everyone freaking out, about the vulgarity, about the sexism, about the racism – not to mention the problematic celebration of drug culture in her song "We Can't Stop" and the misogynistic date-rape vibe of Robin Thicke's song "Blurred Lines," which the two performed together.
Are we really back here again? It's been 29 VMAs since Madonna writhed in her wedding dress to "Like a Virgin," 23 VMAs since Prince wore butt-baring pants, 12 VMAs since Britney performed "I'm a Slave 4 U" wrapped in a live snake, and four VMAs since Sacha Baron Cohen dressed as a dark angel and landed crotch-first on Eminem's head.
The VMAs exist to shock, and by promising to deliver a moment "even crazier" than 2003's Britney-Madonna kiss, Miley left little doubt about her intention to use this performance to carve out her own place alongside these icons of pop.
Part of me hates even acknowledging this event by writing about it—we're giving MTV and Miley exactly what they want. But when people are talking, they're also listening, and it's important to think through what our response communicates about who we are.
As Christians, when confronted with something offensive, we often condemn it on instinct. We want to make sure everyone knows how strongly we disagree, how completely we disapprove, how far we want to distance ourselves from such behavior. (To some extent this seems like a human instinct, given how much everyone has gone on and on this week about Miley at the VMAs.)
There's absolutely a time and a place to call out sin, but if all we do is shame Miley—a 20-year-old girl who grew up extremely privileged, extremely sheltered, and extremely publicly and is now in the process of discovering her adult identity—for her behavior, and bemoan one more nail in the coffin of this world, what are we communicating about a God who loves sinners and offers hope not just from them but to them?
Jesus loves Miley. Nothing she could do could separate her from his love. Even more than she needs to know how we feel about her dance moves, or her drug use, or her sexual history, she needs to know that truth. The world needs to know that. The way we talk about other people, particularly those we condemn, communicates a lot about who we are and what we are about to other people who are "outside," even when it's not their choices we're berating in a public forum.

Finally, this week, I woke with the famous Micah passage in my head. " And what does The Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
The reality is that while the drums of war are beating in the White House, perhaps in the Congress and in the media, and elsewhere, the USA faces deep internal problems represented by Miley Cyrus and others. Problems in the way of lifestyles  which have been  exported all over the world, and perhaps even to Syria. Guns made in America, and freely available, continue to be 'exported' to my country thus wreaking havoc in the inner cities and spreading to all areas of national life. And we have not been able to convict the Americans to do everything in their power  to stop the flow of these weapons. Pornography,  and movies with gratuitous violence, made in America and Europe and elsewhere, continues to flow all over world,  leaving broken families, warped minds and  destroyed cultures in its their wake. And in the midst of this the mighty USA still takes on to itself, the 'policeman' of the world. Where then is the justice, Mr. President? Where is the mercy? And where is the humility?  No doubt what these messages from Twitter and Facebook are calling all of us, as children of Light, at a time when others  are seeking to wage war, is to heed the message from St Paul to the Corinthian Church.
" For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself us against the knowledge of god, and we take captive every thought  to make it obedient to Christ". 1 Cor. 10:3-5 NIV  Christians in America, and all over the world need to take their queue from this passage of Scripture in the fight against moral and physical and even spiritual challenges, that confront us daily. Especially as we try to discern God's perfect will in a imperfect, fallen and troubled world. Where war is never going to be the final solution to the many, many challenges humanity faces in this and in any era. As ultimately " The Government of the world is in the hands of The Lord."