“Civil” Wars?

I am a student of war, of what my high school English teachers called “man’s inhumanity to man” back in the day.

While I support our troops I surely do not support each and every deployment.

I admit to being an old hippie- so here it comes:

Most civil wars are anything but civil, it’s almost always about power, control and economics. I think overall, most wars happen due to much the same dynamics.

Further- and this comes from a guy who is SICK TO DEATH OF THE PREJUDICE IN MY NATION… our own U.S. Civil War (which with many other wars I’m a student of) was not about slavery. Not at core. It was indeed about economics.

Some of my Southern friends would take issue but States Rights while being a part of the whole was not in the end the core issue. If the most prosperous white plantations and associated businesspeople could have built and maintained their wealth cheaply and without slavery most would have done so, this I believe. Yet due to the “almighty dollar” mixed with bigotry and lunacy (yes, I mean that) folks decided with at least a measure of truth, that their very survival and certainly way of life would be utterly ruined if slavery were to be outlawed, hence the American Civil War.

So… our “way of life” must be defended to the death? I could agree and might indeed… but that would need some sane definition don’t you think?

Over and over “the love of money which is the root of all evil” as the Bible rightly says, seems to me foundational in most armed conflict. In a large practical sense, those with the loot have the power and make the key decisions. No shocker, is it?

In this sense nothing has changed in our world from Adam to the present day.

The cruelty, lack of civility and outright rage over these things has spawned so many conflicts and outright wars in human history one scarcely has to quote any history as proof.

Now when world and local economies teeter, in times of “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” who do you think demands zero change when it comes to sharing what they have with others? Ahhhh… one guess please?

Over and over God’s Word is clear about this- He tends to castigate the rich and gives preference to the poor, the widow the orphan.

I could care less where you are with politics, this is beyond argument when one simply reads through scripture.

Let’s get closer to home: so many families and marriages in particular fall under the strain of financial pains. Certainly that’s only one facet of a collapsing relationship but often money (the lack of it, sane stewardship of it) becomes “the straw” that breaks the couple’s back.

Without question my parents had a number of unresolved issues between them that contributed to divorce. One of them was certainly economics. Part of our family’s descent into dependence on welfare was indeed my father’s several illnesses and failed business dealings that brought my mother away for weeks at a time to earn a more decent wage in “the big city”. Long story short, the family disintegrated.

I ended up with my mother, sister and brother were out of the house quickly. Mom landed a good job and that ended our need for welfare which had lasted appx. 3 or 4 years.

These experiences are partly why I so related to the African-American experience though I was a white suburban kid (suburban upon leaving Wisconsin farm country and very small town life).

When I heard music by people whose lyrics, performance and daily lives were permeated with hurt, separation and need it struck a deep chord in my heart. Instant understanding, instant solidarity with poor folks who were “the wrong color”. Neither did I have the pedigree, wear the “right” clothes, lock-step with upward mobility.

I, like “them,” was too “different” in terms of culture, music styles, hair styles and even in that I loved black music far more than what whites were producing at the time. The experience of -not- being in power and -not- having money or achieving some sense of respect but rather rejection (due in my family’s case to economics and marital fail) ended up serving me well for a life of ministry and mission as well as blues singing.

Paying dues indeed equals the right to play blues. It’s far more than a style, a “like” or mere artistic passion for me.

I’ve been blessed with a simple life, at least in terms of what most white folks deal with in the U.S., but the truth is that I’m rich compared to soooo many who live near us in Chicago’s inner city.

Jesus says “Give and it shall be given to you”… but I often wonder if we only hear the second part and whether we’re willing to show up only when the “given to you” is happening?

There is so much need, so many people who just don’t believe all that much in genuine love. I think this is partly true because they’ve seen too many people hoard rather than share. The early church in the Book of Acts, chapters 2 and 4 knew what was up. Taking care of widows and orphans, people sharing what they had to meet those needs was the norm, part of the fabric of authentic Christian community in those days. Still is in some places, I’m aware… but you get the point.

I wonder whether the majority of those professing faith in Jesus will ever be willing to love like that again? I see it here and there but so many in my nation seem to live in fear, anger and distrust. No fruit of the Holy Spirit corresponds with such attitudes. How can we think they can reflect faith, hope and love?

Is it any wonder so many judge Christians as people living out irrelevant mythology at best, racist power-and-wealth hypocrisy at worst?

Hmmm. Hard words, but perhaps food for thought?

Thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

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