Friday, October 20, 2006

For What Its Worth

click the arrow in the corner of the screen to play.

Is it just me or does 2006 feel a lot like 1967 lately?
Do you remember or know about all the circumstances, events and turmoil of 1968?
Would you say that history is about to repeat itself?

version two:


Chip said...

If this is 1967, do I get my hair back?

How did we respond to the 60s? In once sense, we embraced the "counter culture," and in doing so robbed it of its message and power. Witness "That 70s Show." It became possible to be a "hippie," or at least to look like one -- to be hip, cool, etc. -- without embracing anything of which the society as a whole disapproved. Thus, we tamed the 60s, which led to the 80s and the "Me Decade": a cynical grab at self-satisfaction (despite Mick Jagger's not being able to get any). I'm not sure the 90s were any different -- just better technology and more expensive toys.

So, how will we respond this time? The age of the protest is gone, lost (I believe) to the violence of the 60s' protests. No one pays attention to them now. There are no protests of 100k people in Washington. No one seems to really care about causes -- we're still stuck in the Me Decade (or is that "Me Decayed"?). So, this time, there will be no disruption of society. Everything will go on as before. However, there is a deep decay -- a rottenness -- lying underneath and fueling our complacency. Keith Olbermann of Countdown recently declared the death of America. That may be in the near future.

But as Christians, I think we CAN be complacent on the death of America. As Christians, we say, "nations come and go. We're not afraid of the gates of hell." The death of this nation won't be the end of God's work with and among his people. Scott, that's where I may disagree with you in the recent post about cooperative networks. My identity as a U.S. citizen isn't so important to me. That may sound like heresy to some, but as a Christian I have to say "my citizenship is in heaven." Period. No appendices.

Starrider said...

Well, I am not too sure that our culture has too much outrage and protest left in them anymore either. I do see a lot of paralells today that were much the same back in the day. I am not too sure what it would take for people to get riled up again. We have seen glimpses of it in recent years. There was the activist and "survivalist" vibe in the late nineties. There was also the "conservative revolution" in politics which largely continues to this day- especially among the evangelicals that have tried to overtake the political systems, thus co-opting themselvees by trying to serve two masters. There has been a few so-called "Million so- and- so" marches on Washington. But there is little sign of the all out cultural upheaval we saw in the sixties. By the way, I was 3 years old in 1967, so everything I "know" about those times is from osmosis and documentaries and literature. I don't know what it would take for our "post-everything" culture to get wound up again like it did in 1968. We saw glimpses of some kind of cultural galvanization in the first two years after 9/11. I sensed then that the "unity" was a mirage. I remember telling people that if things really got bad that all the yellow ribbons and flag waving would dissolve and we'd have people killing one another for a gallon of gasoline. That seems to be a pretty negative and pessimistic view for anyone to have- but I still think it is true(although it pains me to say so). 9/11 has produced a culture of fear, an ill advised war in Iraq and far more negative indicators of the spiritual health of our culture than anything else. Worst of all it has seriously divided our culture and created what can only be called hatred between Americans that have divided themselves into "conservatives" and "liberals". Hurricane Katrina exposed yet even more cracks in the American facade of security, equality and moral conscience. When I observe that the socio-political set-up of today is a lot like 1967...I am not really insinuating that we'll have a replay of the counter culture movement. I do think there is going to be some rough transition or "death of civilization" as our culture tries to re-balance itself somehow.
I do agree with you about how Christians should consider their citizenship in Heaven first. ...Or more accurately the "Kingdom of God" first- which I believe we live in here and now (which is the crux of my philosophy). I have wrestled somewhat with the "citizenship" issue for a while. Note that the "Co-operative Networks" piece was written at least as far back as 2004 (I suspect the first draft was in early '03). My attitudes and priorities have changed somewhat since then. However, my basic approach to the question of "citizenship" is still fundamentally the same. I will say at the risk of offending someone that my citizenship in the U.S. has never been all that important to me either. That attitude comes mostly from my ethnic history as an American Indian. 'Nuff said. However, the "citizenship" question has risen several times pertaining to my membership in the Cherokee tribe. I have been told all my life to just assimilate into America at large or else to turn my "Indianness" loose in the interest of Christianity and the Church. Now, pertaining to my own personal life- I can do and have done this with regards to the Church. Yet, I feel I would be totally remiss to just walk away from my tribe in order to pursue a "personal" relationship with God or Jesus and not try to reach out to my fellow tribesmen that they might also know God's Kingdom and salvation. So, if I am creative- I can find ways to use my tribal membership and culture to reach my fellow tribesmen. My freedom in Christ allows me to use anything and everything- so long as I am within scripture- to the glory and revelation of the Father. Culture is a currency and a language in that respect. I see it much the same with "American" culture. I have no illisions about the fragility and combustability of "the American Dream" and/or the passing of civilizations...again you are talking to a Cherokee. We know about upheaval and change. Yet, I do feel a certain sense of responsibility as a Christian to try and be a positive influence on community and culture- not only in Native America, but, America at large and ultimately to the international community. When I talk up or else critically analyze Indian culture, American culture or Christian culture- I do so because I believe that any or all of these have something positive to offer, can do better- or can be utilized ion ways to glorify Christ and/or the Kingdom of God. I offer ideas in the hopes that somehow, someway, somebody somewhere will be encouraged or intrigued and by some kind of chain reaction maybe one of my neighbors on this planet will benefit. I reckon that most poets, artists, dreamers, saints and social servants hope for the same thing. Right now, the only love I can offer up to my neighbors is to pray and also offer a holistic brand of hope that I have utilized to save my own heart and mind from the soul sucking onslaught of the "World".

ck said...

Amen. Amen. Amen. No disagreement, just useful clarification from you. Did I ever tell you I have Cherokee in my heritage? So far back it doesn't count for anything, but it's still there. FYI.

I want -- but don't claim to have attained it yet -- to take all my identity from Jesus the Messiah, regardless of heritage (itty bitty tiny piece Cherokee, but about 75% Dutch). Wish I was there (i.e., in full allegiance to Jesus). But, I'm not modern, not postmodern, not existentialist, not realist or idealist -- though someone familiar with those categories might find similarities between my life and them -- but I'm Christian. Period. Because I claim Jesus as my President/King (and NOT George Bush or Bill Clinton or [whoever is next]), I will NOT kill on behalf of the United States -- which is at best a temporary situation used (perhaps -- again, this is "at best") by God to keep some level of peace in the world. Of course, I have no way of knowing, with any degree of certainty, which side God is on in most or perhaps any conflicts. I want to be on God's side, but as a human being, I have limited information and perspective. Is God using the US to keep peace in the world? As he used the Babylonians (which, of course, made them neither holy nor God's people). Maybe. Others see it differently -- we, in their view, are the warmongers. Since I know that we NEVER enter a war without a significant national interest (can't sell it to the American people without it), and since one of the criteria of a "just war" is that it be for purely altruistic reasons, (therefore, "just war" never really exists) it seems reasonable to me that we are, indeed, in Iraq (as we have been in all wars in our history) for selfish reasons. We are, therefore, warmongers. We are fighting for selfish interests, as we have always done. This war, as all the others we have fought, is not holy. It is, therefore, unholy. Of course, there may be altuistic people (a few) who are in Iraq in the US army -- I can't judge their motivation, salvation or righteousness. God is gracious, and if he can deal with my sin, he can deal with anyone's.

That fact does not move this war from one category (unjust) to another ("just"). It does not change the fact that Christians are to have primary allegiance, not to a nation, or even to a marriage (!), but to God. I pledge allegiance to God alone; I pledge allegiance to my spouse insofar as she allows and encourages my allegiance to God. The same goes for my country, my city, my neighborhood, my church, and my . . . whatever.

Well, I got a little off the subject, but I've been dealing with this topic with some of my students, so it's been "hot" for me. Frankly, I'm tired of Christians who don't take Jesus seriously -- or who take him "seriously" to a point -- to the precise point where he might want them to sacrifice -- to REALLY sacrifice, i.e., something important to them, such as life -- and then at that point they refuse to take him seriously. At that point they decide he must have been speaking allegorically, or hyperbolically, or something like that. Bull. When Jesus says "lay down your life," he wasn't speaking hyperbolically or "idealistically." He meant it. Period. Do we want to follow him or not???? We need to quit being cowards! Following Jesus takes COURAGE! Much more courage than trying to kill your enemy -- LOVING your enemy is much more difficult and challenging.

Thanks, Scott, for your fellowship in really following him.


Anonymous said...

Hey, did I ever tell you that I too am Native American. I have “native” blood coursing through my veins.
Like CK, it is slight, but it’s pumping.
Also, like CK most of my blood was provided by the Dutch, although my mother and grandmother always referred to our heritage as “Black Dutch.” I, as a child, apparently had no racist tendencies or training, because my mother tells a story about me telling my friends that I was in-fact, “Black.” I obviously, could not see it in the mirror, but I trusted my mother and grandmother on the issue.
If you haven’t already dropped the term “Black Dutch” into your google search engine, do it now. You might be interested what the term means, euphemistically.
Again, like CK, the issue of my genetic heritage of tribe and clan is far less valuable to me than the heritage that goes farther back, all the way back to Genesis 1:27. This is the identity that allows me the courage to be different. I was first made like God in his image. I forfeited that likeness, by trying to become equal to God or more than God, Genesis 3.
Christ restored my image back to its original glory, “like God, in His image.”
I appreciate CK’s focus and concur.