Armageddon

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Armageddon: (n) in the New Testament, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment.

I have this memory from Sunday School class of a verse in which God shares with Cain that the blood of his brother “cried unto God from the Earth.”

Pretty powerful image.

So every time I think about Armageddon, I’m a bit baffled.

I have never had a desire to go to the Holy Land–mainly because I do not believe that any particular parcel of dust and stone is holy–and especially when the landscape has been so stained by human blood, shed for meaningless doctrines and interpretations.

I am not certain that this position I have taken would be a popular one with those who want to go and see where Moses received the Ten Commandments, or where Jesus walked on the water.

But if I found myself in the unenviable position of being the President of the United States, I would never send any troops into a kingdom that is already crimson with blood.

I would never allow myself to be known as the conduit that initiated a battle over nothing, which destroys everything.

There isn’t much I can do about the Jews and the Muslims wanting to fight with each other. It is my belief that Jesus came to break truth off of tradition, so that we could be human beings with each other instead of tribes.

But I guess as long as we insist on honoring our cultures more than humanity, protecting our kin more than seeking reasons to call the people of the world our brothers and sisters, and debating the personality of a God which is far beyond our comprehension, we will gradually inch our way periodically towareds Armageddon.

When we do, look for me in the rear, turning around and heading the other direction.

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Annihilate

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Annihilate: (v) to destroy utterly; obliterate.

Universally, historically, chemically, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally and internationally, “destroy” is one of those words that is part of the three heads of evil.

Linking with “kill” and “steal,” it forms the only empire of darkness of which I am aware.

And even though we like to focus on extreme examples of destroying by citing genocide or even ecological malfeasance, we do better if we embrace the danger of sinister activity in our own breast instead of attributing it to villains.

What am I doing to annihilate anything in my life? What am I destroying which, if I would cease to do so, would enhance my possibilities and the people around me?

It’s a powerful thought.

The first thing I have to overcome is my defensiveness and fear of being exposed as a destroyer.

The second goal would be to accept the fact that even a little destruction is annihilating something of importance.

So I will busy myself today with a bit of analyzing on this issue.

  • Of course, we are all in danger of annihilating ourselves through bad habits.
  • Some form of annihilation is inevitable when we maintain prejudice, which lends itself to bigotry.
  • And even the acceptable position of being opinionated tends to annihilate fresh ideas from peppering our minds.

We must be willing to forgive ourselves.

After all, we sat in Sunday School as children hearing stories of the Children of Israel annihilating whole tribes in order to gain the Promised Land.

We read about the thousands of casualties during the Civil War, fought in our homeland, never considering the individual soldier.

And of course, none of us were present for the terror of the first two atomic bombs, which annihilated a pair of cities and hundreds of thousands of people.

To annihilate is the killing edge of not giving a damn.

To avoid it, I must be willing to consider where calloused reasoning has made me susceptible to such treachery.

 

 

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Anabaptist

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Anabaptist: (n) a radical Protestant sect in the 1520s and 1530s which believed that baptism should be administered only to believing adults.

It’s not so much that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s just that by the time a dog reaches a certain age of maturity, it is always looking for a warm piece of sunshine in which to take a nap.

It is so much easier to teach a young dog which is hopping around with energy, to do something unnecessary, like a trick, because the creature is already predisposed to be active.

When I read this definition of Anabaptist, I immediately noted that their particular goal of profession of faith didn’t last very long. The reason for that is that trying to teach adults to be spiritual is similar to the quandary of pursuing chasing a stick with the old dog.

The people who are most intrigued by God, love, mercy, angels and promises of heaven are young.

Very young.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus told his disciples that we all need to “become like little children.” Otherwise, we’ll have no appetite to learn the new tricks that are available for our spirit.

If you remove Sunday School, Bible school, church camp and youth outings from the average religious organization, you basically end up with traditional worship services once a week … and funerals.

Matter of fact, that is the menu of many congregations in this country.

It is the infusion of youthfulness and the passion associated with it that makes spirituality alive and well. Otherwise, the minute we find a warm place to sleep in the sun, we no longer care about God, the earth and fellow-travelers.

Yes, the Anabaptists made a serious mistake. Merely getting old and sickly does not prepare one for eternity.

It is the introduction of youthful, childlike playing that “draws us nigh unto God.”

 

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