“Ah, You Don’t Believe
We’re On The Eve Of Destruction…”
The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.
J. Robert Oppenheimer
___It seems none of us can escape todays modern technology, and when those smart devices we have become addicted to decide to go toes up, we are thrust into a state of withdrawal akin to quitting smoking or drinking. Suddenly we find ourselves rushing out to get our fix at the nearest phone or big ticket item store. And that is how we found ourselves in the car today, and how I suddenly found myself hearing in my mind, Barry McGuire’s song “The Eve of Destruction”. Suddenly, I was struck by the thought that even though this song was recorded and made popular in 1965, there are very few things about this song’s message that have changed in the 50 years since! Our fears about the unpredictability of both modern technology, AND man, especially when there seems to be a need to exert power and authority over others, above all else, seems to be the same today as it was in 1965. In fact, they’re the same fears man had in 1915 and 1776 and 1 BC!___This is made crystal clear to me when I feel the same lump in my throat as I did when I was a kid going through the evacuation drill that required us to exit the school bus through the emergency doors and then to climb under the same bus and to, hopefully, some measure of safety against the threat the United States was facing as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis. My 21st century throat lumps have come in many disguises in recent years. From a breaking news alert about the North Korean government threatening to continue to test fire missiles, to the beheadings of innocent people who are captives in the hands of ISIS fighters, to the kidnapping of hundreds of young people from schools and even entire villages in Africa, to the murder of cartoonists in France, indeed it seems as if the Barry McGuire song is true… even though his reference was the Far East and not the Middle East! Yes, “The eastern world it is explodin’, violence flarin’, bullets loadin’ “___Now we probably would have heard and reacted to this news differently, if the countries (and people) involved were a country (and people) open to negotiations and a communal dialogue of sorts. In fact, it’s possible we would not have given the news more than an initial, gut wrenching reaction after which we would most likely have continued on with our busy lives. But history supports that we see the threat posed by the leaders of these nations (and people), in a different light, and I am given pause to wonder why it is that one person, or a nation of people, find it not just necessary, but almost a moral imperative, to act in a manner that elicits fear in others! But lets take this idea one step farther and consider something else. Even among the world’s many faiths, we are seeing a time of the breakdown of our communications one with the other. Are we, indeed, abandoning interfaith dialogue in the 21st century? Is it “The Eve of Destruction” for faith?___Consider for a moment what the term “interfaith dialogue” means. When we seek a dialogue within our family dynamic, do we not embark on discussions with a goal of effecting constructive and positive interaction with those we love? Do we not hope to strengthen the bonds of both love and trust by being receptive to new thoughts and ideas introduced in a positive spirit? Well, it means exactly the same thing whether we are seeking to open up the lines of communication within the family, or between nations, or even between differing faiths. It does not seek to change the existing dynamic of belief but instead, seeks to open the mind to the possibilities that new ideas might somehow infuse into the current level of thought!___I am a Christian! I say this fact loud and proud! You see, it is through my acceptance and belief that Christ died for me and my sins that directs my heart and shapes the tenets of faith that I hold dear and by which I live my life. And it is this belief, my Christian belief, that colors my personal portrait of God and of my faith. It is what gives my portrait its vibrancy and primary colors as I add all if the shapes and forms and brush strokes that come from my life experiences. But now I want you to think about how I add some dimension to my portrait. I add some new and different hues and shades of color that come from learning about and understanding other parts of faith such as God’s early directives to mankind involving the Hebrew peoples. Now suddenly, my portrait of faith becomes even more brightly colored and vibrant and alive. Next add some of the ideals and thoughts of the esoteric religions to the mix, and now my brush strokes capture the beauty that is to be found in light and shadows intermixed with all of the other colors. Add the unique components of all of the other faiths that live in the hearts of man, and what results in a masterpiece of breathtaking beauty that captures the best parts of our humanity!___I am not asking any person reading this today to necessarily alter any part of what they hold to be true in their hearts. What I do ask is that we all try to see beyond the part of each of us that is skin deep. What I ask is that we ask our questions and be receptive to the answers those questions elicit because it is God’s wish that we grow to be complete people… physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually! What I ask is that we each try to consider the impact our actions have on others, and that we try to discover some way we might assuage those fears through interfaith and intercultural dialogue with others. What I ask is that we work collectively as a race of human beings to look to a world on the horizon of wonder and not a world on the eve of destruction!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
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