Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What We've Allowed


What We've Allowed

Most ancient Meso-American cultures practiced human sacrifice. The Aztecs did so out of a belief that blood needed to be spilled in order to keep the sun in the sky every day. Theirs was a culture that relished in war because it spilled blood, and thus they believed it helped their world and the universe keep going on and existing. Their gods demanded human sacrifices, and to these gods their leaders and priests sacrificed their own people. Sometimes it's historically portrayed as people nobly laying down their lives for everyone's sakes. But when you hear that children were sacrificed because the rain god demanded tears, you see the true spirit behind what was going on. It makes me cry to even think about it.

This is not a subject I enjoy writing about. I happen to be half-Mexican, actually. But this picture is not about Mexico. It's not about the Aztecs. It's about US. The U.S.A. It's about what's been happening spiritually in the USA in the last decade, and how Christians have been spiritually blind about it.

There is enough evidence that Iraq had no connection to Al Qaeda or 9-11. The evidence has been well-known internationally and at home since the beginning of the attempts to start the war. There have been enough re-tracked and re-spun statements to show that the "evidence" didn't actually matter. The war was going to happen whether there was evidence or not. There have been enough testimonies from insiders that the war was a goal from the day the administration took office. There have been enough revelations that the administration knowingly tried to link Saddam and Bin Laden in the public's eye and sentiment, and continually kept the nation in fear of attack.

Why?

Because as one Christian prophet boldly declared, "We wanted to go to war."

I don't know exactly "who" is behind everything, and I'm not sure it's critically important that we know "who" to blame. What is important is that we wake up to what's been happening, that we begin to see in the Spirit and discover our blindness that made it possible.

There are people in the administration and in the government (or behind it) that wanted this war to happen. The "evidence" they tried to assemble against Saddam was a cover. Yes, Saddam was a bad person. Yes, he did bad things. But the United States was never bothered by his bad deeds when he was doing them -- rather the U.S. government supported him and gave him aid during those years because he was at odds with radical Islamic fundamentalists in neighboring Iran. And yes, he was also at odds with Al Qaeda for his lack of support & religious enthusiasm. All this was well-known to the U.S. government even during the Clinton years.

So...

"They" didn't start the war because Saddam was a threat.
"They" didn't start the war because Iraq was a terrorists' haven (it wasn't until the war).
"They" didn't start the war because Saddam had WMD's, WMD "programs", or "intention."
"They" didn't start the war because Iraqis were suffering.
"They" didn't start the war because Iraqis needed freedom.


What was so important that the evidence didn't matter? What was so important that the lives of soldiers, civilians and even enemies were esteemed so expendable?

One story I read back when it was all beginning revealed much of it very clearly and shockingly. Perhaps you remember that the United States sponsored several UN resolutions that paved the way to allowing for military action against Saddam because of his alleged WMD's. But before the final UN resolutions were even voted on, before the "evidence" came back about Saddam and what he did or did not have, preparation for the war was already in the works. Months before the start of the war, during the time the UN resolutions were being put forth and the administration was still trying to sell Saddam's guilt to the world (and the necessity of dealing with him militarily), long before the war began the US government was already handing out oil contracts to domestic companies for development of oil fields in post-war Iraq.

Oil profits. Power. Control. Greed. Military industrial profits. These have been the "gods" in the hearts of leaders or people in power. These have been the "gods" that they served. These have been the "gods" to which they sacrificed the lives of their own people, their soldiers, Iraqi people, Iraqi civilians, and even the lives of enemies who would come to fight the U.S.

They knew what to say. They knew which "buttons" to press in Americans' hearts that would arouse their fears, arouse their 'righteous' indignation, arouse their sense of believing that something needed to be done. They knew how to make honest Americans believe that they were doing the right thing. They knew how to sway things so that anyone who opposed America's course would appear to be suspect, corrupt, greedy, on the "bad" side, and anti-justice.

Most grieviously of all for me, they knew how to snare the hearts and indigation of Christians in the United States (and sometimes Christians abroad, too). They wore the right pins. They spoke about righteousness, law and justice. They even supported some of the right causes. And the Church did not investigate. We didn't look deeper. We didn't want to look deeper. We wanted to believe them. We wanted to believe our leaders were godly, righteous, and "God's men" for the job of leading our country in the way of righteousness. We were "a Christian nation" we believed, and our leaders were "born again". For a long time we'd actually been looking to some of our leaders for the final word on matters instead of investigating things for ourselves. And we had been endorsing them from our church pulpits for quite some time.

We were ready and waiting to be manipulated.
We were ready and waiting to be misled.
We were ready and waiting to be deceived.

We didn't want to listen to information that contradicted what "they" said.
We didn't want to hear the evidence that proved "them" wrong.
We didn't even want to stop to ask why the evidence didn't matter.
We didn't even want to stop to ask why the rationale for the war kept changing when the evidence began to melt away.

I'm not saying this because I enjoy blasting the mainstream Church in America. No, even though I am living abroad and disagree with the American Church sharply about Iraq and the last eight years, I include myself among them in heart and in the Spirit. We want to serve the same Lord. We call upon the same Lord. At times we look with no other help and plea than to the grace of the same crucified and resurrected One, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Because I live abroad, I haven't been under the canopy of nationalism and fear that the administration fomented following the 9-11 attacks and maintained until the Iraq war began. For some of us living abroad, things have been clearer from the beginning. It's been a shock to many of us (as it has to most of the world) how the American public (especially American Christians) became so fervent to start a war based on such a lack of cause and evidence.

It's weighed on my heart and caused me to grieve. It's split my own family at times. I don't hate the leaders involved. I don't hate the people who are probably orchestrating things behind them. I don't even know them. I just hate the deception itself. It weighs so heavily on my heart that the American Church is one of the last stalwart supporters of the administration and the righteousness of the war. As the evidence piled up and non-religious supporters began to see the truth, the Church has yet held on strongly, continually ignoring the evidence and plodding on in the same directions and avenues that enabled it to be deceived and led astray in the first place.

As the election approaches, I began to realize that no matter who won it, the Church would go on believing against the testimony of witnesses & the evidence and would continue standing in a spiritually-blind position ready to be manipulated again when the opportunity arises.

I began to ask the Lord how He saw this situation. I wanted to see it as He saw it and paint it. I wanted to say something about it. And this picture came. It came as my family and I ate at a Mexican restaurant here in Osaka. I hadn't expected such a picture of horror.

But this is what we've allowed. Human sacrifices.

We may believe we are "civilized". We may believe we are a righteous, God-fearing nation. Or that we were at least founded as one. That we are a "Christian nation" or something along those lines. But what we've allowed is for countless lives to be sacrificed to 'gods' of war, greed and control on the 'pyramids' of foreign shores.

Leaders (or people behind them) with blackened hearts have worn the flag and the 'right' pins, supported some good causes, and spoken the 'right' words as a smokescreen to blind us to what they've been doing -- to blind us to the 'gods' they are actually serving. Perhaps some of them themselves do not know that they are serving these 'gods' in their hearts, but actually believe their rhetoric and rationalizations. Perhaps like the Aztecs, they believe the sacrifices --the people whose lives they are choosing to die-- somehow keep the world going and work for the benefit of all.

This is a difficult picture. I confess I don't like it. I don't like what's happened even more. I don't like what's happening. I don't like how my Christian brothers and sisters are blinded, manipulated, and deceived. I don't like how the deception is so deep that many brothers and sisters are clinging to it tenaciously -- that their faith is being put in their leaders and their actions instead of in Christ. I don't like how they're being taught from their church pulpits that they needn't look for truth and search the evidence for themselves -- that they can just trust the "godly" leader in office and people who support the "right" platforms and positions.

I weep in the Spirit as I write much of this.

I must confess that I added something to this picture. And it makes me cry in the Spirit even more. As I saw the picture originally, the cross part was not there, nor was the sun or scales. I put them there because I needed hope. I needed to put something redemptive in this picture. It was too heavy for me to look on, to gaze on, to put before you the reader. Lord, if I should've done it without that part, please forgive me. But I can't do without Your cross, Jesus!

I believe that He did guide me in the 'cross' part of this picture, though. Because the cross is a double-edged sword. Yes, it is our redemption. But judgment is also weighed according to the cross: If we do not choose mercy and grace, mercy and grace will not be what we are judged by.

We have professed the cross, professed Christ, but we don't know how terribly we've been deceived into allowing terrible things (which amount to human sacrifice) to happen. I believe God is calling us out of our slumber and drunkenness (on words that have sounded good to us and inflated our nationalistic pride) because He will not sit by and let this happen forever. Every nation has a "cup" that fills up when things like this happen. He won't endure it forever -- especially when people professing His Son's name are inadvertently aiding it.

The gospel of God's grace is our hope. Repentance is our hope. Speaking the truth no matter what -- that is our hope. Praying for our beloved brothers & sisters to see through the smokescreen, to see the truth and be deceived no longer -- that is our hope. To look to the cross -- that is our hope!

And for the world, for the countless "Malchus's" who have had their spiritual "ears" cut off to the gospel by our wielding of the sword in Christ's name -- to them our only hope of telling them the gospel is by our repentance and asking for their forgiveness. It is humbling. It is pride-killing. It will offend our flesh. But it will bring life!

Lord, I pray all these things in Jesus' name. Help us see, Lord! Remove the blinders from our eyes! Shine through the smokescreen! Give us a divine dissatisfaction with believing whatever our leaders or preachers say instead of investigating for ourselves, Lord. Teach us to see what You see, even if it such terrible horror as this. Give us a repentant humility to take intercessory responsibility, to stand in the gap and repent and ask for forgiveness, and to do the intercessory deed of proclaiming the truth no matter what the cost to our pride or friendships or social standing, Lord! In Jesus' name, I pray, I cry out! In Jesus' name, amen!

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