The World In Chaos – A Christian Perspective


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What's Happening...?

No doubt you are as troubled about world events as I am, especially as there seems no relief in sight.

And these days, praying isn’t so straightforward either, since we have less and less clarity on exactly what is the Lord’s intention (except for the obvious biblical prophecies.)

(Personally, I pray Lord, let YOUR will be done, and YOUR will prevail.)

Today on Twitter, Ron Perlman  addressed the current situation from his own patriotic American perspective, and it sparked off some thoughts for me. What he said was this:

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12 thoughts on “The World In Chaos – A Christian Perspective

  1. She is in England, I take it. The most related topic here in America or the USA is adults who are sounding an alarm that people who want to take guns away will want to take knives away next. They (those who want their guns and knives) tend to be Christian and sort of fringe — except are Trump types (of an evangelical sort that has been growing for decades among Republicans).

  2. My one sentence that includes (within parentheses) the wording, “those who want their guns and knives,” would be better, “those who want to keep their guns and knives” — they are of the pro-gun bunch and somehow have this, among other political topics, mixed up with Christianity. This is, to me, the heart of the problem. Not guns, but that faith isn’t faith — people are being evangelized to something else. That being so, there are fewer and fewer people influenced by the Holy Spirit. Sadly, we’ve been seeing, too, that the first Christian Church (unless we opt for the eastern orthodox rather than catholic as technically the first) was already messed up decades ago — but really from the start [with Constantine] in one way or another. But somehow the faith is passed along to a few in these places, or was; I think still is, to fewer and fewer.

  3. Another thought occurred to me, after posting. By “fewer and fewer” I wasn’t referring to the once-common topic of “mainline churches” decreasing in membership. I meant that those huge, packed, evangelical places might not contain many people with the Holy Spirit.

  4. To be clear, I wasn’t saying that all people who are pro-second amendment are fringe or have guns mixed up with Christianity, or other political stances or sides mixed up with faith. These are the people who often talk like they are ready to go to war over making sure there are always background checks or that one state might have stricter rules than another (for instance, licensing to carry a gun concealed or not allowing concealed guns at all in public spaces or not allowing open carry on the street, not allowing bump stocks, not allowing machine guns, and so on — they like to ignore the “well regulated” part of the very wording of the Constitution).

    I only brought up guns (and knives) as an example because the article talks about children and knives in England, not because it’s the main example of the messed up thinking in the country I live in (while it is one example). Another example is the near worship of wealthy people (and growing disdain for those in need, while there is a counter-movement against that arrogance). The point is what she got to later in her article. Church isn’t the same thing as good values (much less the same as the Holy Spirit), even if church was often used to deliver good values at times. Being christian, too, is no assurance of anything; it’s composition has been ruining us.

  5. Hi Marleen,
    Yes, Trish is in England where there has been a growing issue with knife violence.
    As dangerous as knives can be in the wrong hands, the extent of damage done is limited in comparison to what can be done by guns, Also, knives have a legitimate non-violent purpose. The same thing can’t be said about guns. Their only purpose is killing.

    One of the responses I’ve seen to the new gun restrictions introduced in NZ has been commentary from some gun loving US individuals who have compared the willing surrender or guns to a man removing his testicles. I’m not sure whether those gun-loving commentators realised what such a suggestion said about THEIR manhood and their reliance on having a gun as proof of it.

    Yes, faith isn’t faith – at least it’s not the faith of the gospel of the Kingdom as revealed by and through Jesus. The “faith” often being promoted in US evangelicalism is one extolling nation alongside (ahead of) Jesus. And it is a nation not built upon a Judeo-Christian foundation as is usually claimed, but a nation built upon violence, against original inhabitants, against enforced inhabitants (African slaves) and also including two civil wars* and a pioneering Wild West culture in which the gun played a significant role.

    I agree that those vibrant and popular “huge, packed, evangelical places ” most likely have little connection to the Holy Spirit. They tend to be on the wrong side of the dichotomy Jesus warned about:

    “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

    * The war of Independence was essentially a “civil war” intended to violently overthrow the government of the time. That was a path not taken by other British colonies like Canada, Australia and New Zealand who have all attained a status of independent nations without the same kind of violent uprising.

  6. Onesimus said: One of the responses I’ve seen to the new gun restrictions introduced in NZ has been commentary from some gun loving US individuals who have compared the willing surrender [of] guns to a man removing his testicles. I’m not sure whether those gun-loving commentators realised what such a suggestion said about THEIR manhood and their reliance on having a gun as proof of it.

    In blog conversation (I don’t remember exactly where), it was mentioned a few months ago that men often use terminology of making a kill or going on the hunt when referring to approaching women. Now that I think about it, it was at a blog you used to frequent but haven’t visited so much lately; it came up when we were discussing the Kavenaugh confirmation (and controversy). I actually haven’t heard that much, if at all, in real life. However, I saw it recently at a different blog — one where there is an obsession about guns… and where I saw the obsession extended to the fear that, once you surrender guns, there will come a time for taking knives as well. I pointed out to that blog owner that people are already arrested in the United States for having the wrong kind of knife (especially as a homeless person, while it would be pretty easy to hide the wrong kind of knife in your own home). Anyway, this blog owner does audio recordings with some of his blog followers. I don’t go to that site anymore, but, when I was listening once, the guest, that day, was saying he didn’t like online searches for dating so much because he’d rather go in for the live kill.

  7. For a little more context, that guy trying to date was a dad who had messed up in a marriage and was looking for someone new. I also remember him speaking, hatefully, of seeing women in their thirties who said they were looking for their “forever.” He said, “Swipe left” (is it left?) and maybe had worse to say. I think our problem in the U.S. is not enough people, fewer and fewer, taking the role of being an example to heart, too much not thinking of what matters.

  8. As for Ron Perlman, by the way, I don’t read or follow any twitter accounts. I did read what she shared on her site of what he said, and I don’t know if he was responding to anything or anyone specific. My impression is he might’ve been commenting on our Trump cultural atmosphere. I can’t say much about what he said. In any situation, we can try to make things better or make better choices. At any time we can say, forget it (time to plunge downhill).

  9. I have considered whether or not to respond more specifically to some parts of the post/blog topic that seem philosophical or theological and maybe a little confused/confusing.

    The writer (Trish) said:
    ……..

    I’m not a typical all-American patriot as you know, and I rather doubt that the vision of America that Ron Perlman and others hold dear is accurate, but he speaks for me when he points out the degradation of society and culture.

    I BELIEVE THERE HAVE BEEN DEGRADING ASPECTS TO SOCIETY AT MOST OR ALL POINTS IN TIME. We [all of us or the parts of the world we are most aware of and can speak on, say, western culture] seem to improve some things and lose sight of other aspects of good (and I don’t mean everybody does the same thing or has the same thoughts).

    It can be disorienting.

    As for the United States, we really need more of the population to grapple with what we have as a history; some of us already do try to face up to it. Similarly, we have need to be realistic about our English history (something of which we are an extension). A former Acting Solicitor General was on the news a few nights ago and spoke of our Anglo legal heritage, in glowing terms. I liked what he said. I got what he said. I also know there are negative aspects of that background (which can be summarized as colonialist or imperial and patriarchal). There is good and bad, and I like to adhere to or work with the good or workable. There is a long stretch of history that we don’t always think about other than to be glad we aren’t still under kings or in caves. We can compare something in current events to recent events or tendencies or hopes and be disappointed — thus evaluate a possible adjustment. Some of us can add historical perspective. I am currently appalled at some of what the administration (even one after another) does here and around the world. I also think that there have been improvements in the wider culture.

    Then he and others pin their hopes on essential goodness bouncing back. There I have to part company with them.

    Human nature has always been the same! The core of humanity since Eden has been selfish, corrupt and violent throughout all centuries. Humanity is NOT going to get better, but worse.

    The reason is not as commonly perceived, that people have become more sinful. No, people have always been sinful but in earlier centuries (in some countries) there was enough restraint to keep us on track. Not so today.

    I agree that people are not more sinful. Some people are, however, more sinful than other people (as has always been). And some more considerate people look for the preponderance of kindness that they feel they have seen somewhere. (Some selfish people, too, hope for others to be good or kind or considerate… so they can take advantage. We hope to keep this in check.)

    Restraint Is Being Removed
    I want you to conduct a small mental experiment. Think of yourself back in your childhood, going to school.

    You weren’t unruly, disobedient, you didn’t cheat (I hope) because you had parents, teachers, an educational system, a society and media that spoke out against those things and persuaded you that such behaviour was unacceptable. In a word, you were brought up well.

    But now imagine if the influence of your friends, and opportunities within society, and the laxity of the educational system all tended towards you cheating, being rude, skipping lessons when you wanted to do something more interesting – in fact, if such things were not only overlooked but approved of and applauded by many – would you then have been so averse to bad behaviour, if you had the chance?

    Be honest, would YOU have gone to a football match with your mates instead of a maths lesson? IF you knew there was no come-back, and you wouldn’t get into trouble? If all your friends thought it was “cool”?

    I think this section is a bit unclear. First, I don’t think going to a football game is sinful (even instead of math class). It’s an odd end to having spoken of cheating and being rude and so forth. Second, I was brought up not being allowed to do a number of significant things allowed and encouraged in upright society. My mother was quite strict with me (not with herself though, and I didn’t permit myself to judge her for it). I obeyed (and not because I feared punishment — just because I chose to obey). So the experiment doesn’t work very well to prove a point to me (and, I would think, some others); one can be surrounded by people doing other things and not do them (good or bad). Third, not only does the writer include cheating and so on, she says, basically, what if pretty much everybody encouraged the things she has put forth as sinful. If everybody said to go to the game (and if everybody, including my mother, said it was okay to do certain other things), some things are okay and helpful. But disregarding others and the needs of society — which can be in part displayed by cheating* — is not okay.

    I’ll share another memory by way of contrast, but I don’t know if it has anything to do with sin or greed. I would say it’s a little self-indulgent. I’m not sure if that’s bad. While I wasn’t allowed to do normal things other kids did (in my Christian schools, approved by the schools), an example of other kids getting to do something most didn’t (in other words, on the other end of a spectrum) was a few who would go skiing with their parents. They would take extra days beyond a given break, and they would either be fully excused (because it was a parental decision) or they would get by — having missed some classes and probably turned work in late. I don’t know if this is terrible. I also don’t know if they ended up cheating, or not, because they had missed some in-class lecture time .*By cheating, I mean something more direct — like copying answers for a test and not understanding the material. (I don’t mean that being absent equals cheating.)

    Everybody else, which included myself, had the impression we should follow the schedule. I think those kids probably had a little more money, too. But I’m not sure about that. And I don’t know how they turned out. They weren’t friends of mine, and I soon left town. I never saw them again. They seemed okay at the time.

    Back to quoting Trish: What I’m saying is this – we were NOT better people then! Within ALL of us is the desire and propensity to sin because the “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” Jeremiah 17:9.

    Propaganda
    Let’s not kid ourselves that previous generations were any different to today. But what they had was restraint (discipline, the fear of punishment, disapproval of elders, positive input from the media and so on).

    Propaganda (as her chosen word) comes from people, though. So…

    It’s not adding up.

    Again, I can agree that there were deceitful and wicked people then as there are now — and that there is a sort of amnesia in thinking people are so now but didn’t exist much then. I will give one example of improvement now over accepted evil then (while we have much more to do or expect of ourselves even if we aren’t going to fully accomplish it). Violence against women was more tolerated say in the eighties and before, even ignored; we have redefined our perceptions and passed laws (not that we always get everything right about it).

    I think we are stunned to have someone who speaks sort of like a Nazi as President here… when we were part of defeating the Nazis not too long ago. We can be depressed at the support he has and some of the things people on his side not only aren’t repulsed by but enjoy and promote. What has led to the rise of this horrible man (and people of his ilk in other western countries)? I saw it coming here, he’s just a more blatant version of the direction Republicans were going. And they’re not shocked at themselves (most of them… including the ones who still insist they’re not Republicans, although they vote that way). Coincidentally, I shared an article a couple days ago that reminds us it was considered proper for Republicans to vote against the Violence Against Women Act. Quite a few of those who did so sat on the committee just last fall to question a Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual assault, as if they could inspire confidence.

    Or hope.

    I’m skipping some here.
    …..

    What Changed?
    It seems pretty obvious that the change took place in the “propaganda” and not so much in the people.

    Change the stereotypes, the role-models, the teachers and mentors, and you change the pupils!

    Alter the perception that good and right are rewarded, and replace it with an attitude of “I will take what I need at any cost”, and you end up with rampant selfishness and violence. People will always take advantage of an opportunity to get away with self-indulgence or greed, especially if they are encouraged by people they admire.

    I just don’t see that as the bottom line. Or… too much has been lumped together.

    We might be losing things in translation from country to country.

    As I said earlier, some things are better than they were.

    I think it is more the case that the propaganda has not changed and has been doubled down upon, and things don’t seem better overall for all the effort and patience and forbearing. In fact, in my country, most people are struggling more than ever. Things seems worse for trying largely the same thing for decades. Men and women who take more are smart. What may have changed is that the top want more yet. Women who are forgiving are stupid now.

    Does she mean there will always be some people who will take advantage when the rest of the people are being gullible? Some defeated, maybe others lazy (meaning anyone with some actual power to change things within the system[s] not bothering)?

    Maybe men used to think they could get away with a lot and were encouraged to do so when they could (actually, they still do but in some different ways as well as some of the same). Maybe the English or Anglo-Saxons did. Maybe anyone seen as white. What now, whoever has money? There’s a specific, relentless propaganda that has been pushed for quite a while through thick and thin… money. The needy were (and are) portrayed as greedy. The dependent as needy, inferior and spoiled even if doing what pundits pretended to value (such as teaching or bringing up children or leading Sunday school). The employed as expendable, the lower or less-paid as more expendable and more indulged (less important, selfish). This, of course, puts mothers at the bottom (no paycheck, just spoiled and needy); that is unless such which makes you spoiled (so imagined) and needy is pushed off onto someone else. Let someone else care for the children — for low pay, while you go find a way to be paid and be somebody… not so dismissed. You can’t be paid to care for your own children (if you were, you would be resented), but you can shop for day care and schooling. You can wish for quality there. We have reached a point in the U.S. where we aren’t thinking about providing good education and care for all children even in a shared manner. This is sold as “all children should have the opportunity for a great education” by the “family party” (by which they really mean most children should have sad care and education so mine can prosper [maybe… while some of the base are less conscious of the subterfuge and of the benefit to loving their own children and take it to mean adults shouldn’t have to think about kids “too much” and end up directing the sad attitude at their own or at least not getting much for their own] one way or another).

    What is this idea of a mystery of restraint? I do not think it is a lack of punishments (except maybe such lack toward the powerful, mainly adults — the respected ones). On one hand, is there any mystery in punishing children? On the other, how would it be that countries with restraints are made of “better people” or that the culture is better if better people weren’t and aren’t present in time? I think the restraint has to mean something else, or something more than simply propaganda and disapproval leading to punishment (for the betterment in upbringing). Maybe we improve our understandings as goals — such as respecting all people, even females with no paychecks (and usually less muscle bulk and other means of force), even females with paychecks (removing the taboo), even someone born without any privilege if they talk the talk, even someone brown. I am reminded of reading Richard Wurmbrandt saying that all peoples fall short of their own values (even if they don’t see themselves as religious). What if the restraint itself is actually not something we would see as cool (to use another of her words)? What if the restraint is powerful people getting their way? If we dance to their tune, society has been restrained… and there is an order to the situation. (Also, if a wife watches her walking on eggshells, she might have peace.) If we see that this is bad or unfortunate, and we try and fix it (or parts of it), people who want to dominate find other ways to try and keep others down. Or maybe restraint comes from hope, in which case… I would see it as “cool” but destined to fail even though we should keep aiming for it. We keep aiming in hope for hope, but we, with enduring hope, know that we’re not going to achieve a perfect world; the systems are never going to get all great outcomes in lives or days. What we ought to aim for is hope, which sustains people over time, not a “godly” government that we establish (as that goes bad pretty much always, as even our cults of godliness within a larger state/nation do).

    Remember the mystery of gentile and Jew together, or both saved/being saved? What about the mystery here (concerning restraint now) being about divisions as well, that hope for removing divisions of respect provides a restraint in the hope itself — but then sparks backlash or unexpected experiences. Then we can find ourselves discouraged. It can seem as if we should abandon the mutual respect, but that’s not right. We have to keep allowing for different people to live differently, even keep providing — or better provide — for it, and get along the best we can. The alternative is worse. It’s difficult to explain this. There are different people experiencing different things and who may want to give up on different matters.

    At some point, most people will lose hope. That may be the loss of restraint. More punishment won’t help, especially of the kind involving more austerity. More harshness.

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be punishment for violence and so forth. I’m saying harsher childhoods aren’t what we need. And there are other people losing hope who aren’t going and hurting anyone. Our atmospheres are losing general hope.

    We can talk about movies and video games, but I really think we’re in a different realm when we get into the topic of pointless violence. It’s not the same sense of soul to skip class for soccer or skiing as whatever it takes to go stab someone for points. Our world is caring less that people are alive… not only the violent child or young adult is not caring; these are symptoms. Gym class or recess has been taken away from many children; art time; music; freedom to explore. A future. Hope is indeed a mystery. Many people (especially kids) have it for no apparent reason. Then it ends or is taken away. A person of faith can choose not to oppress or hurt or abandon someone else just because said person of faith has figured out there is no hope in this world as a nice person. So love is greater than hope. I don’t know how many there will be like this in the end.

  10. I was watching, today, a history of kidnapping Adolf Eichmann from Argentina (after Argentina had put out the word that they would harbor Nazis post-war). An ex Mossad agent said, in recounting the situation, that you would’ve thought a man who effected so much harm would be more imposing or a larger figure… but that he was a pathetic little man.

    It reminded me of that same blog owner who was obsessed with guns (who I mentioned in an earlier post). He could never hear that men are generally stronger than women and that women need to have their rights and needs respected (rather, he was one of those people making fun of women trying to make their way in the world… “political correctness” and all that). He hinted more than once that he wasn’t a big man and needed to have a gun (and not only a gun but no restricions/regulations) in order to feel up to survival.

    This is not to say that anyone with a gun disrespects women or others. But there is a serious danger in combining pro-gun views with other bizarre (even if accepted) rhetoric.

  11. Here’s one of our latest weird stories. The ACLU has gotten involved (and has already been significantly working in respect of U.S. law and human rights on similar issues).

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/21/leader-us-border-vigilante-group-arrested-fbi/

    …….

    Hopkins, who operates under the alias Johnny Horton Jr, said his group had been working with the US border patrol in rounding up immigrants as they cross the border into New Mexico. However, this was disputed by both the US Border Patrol and State Attorney General Hector Balderas.

    “This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” [Balderas] said.

    ………..

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