Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Of Roses and Rifles, Crescents and Crosses

As was pointed out in the last thread, there is a stubborn insistence on the part of many American Christians that our nation's immunity to cultural Babylonianism inevitably results in our being the number one exporter of happiness to the rest of the planet. God uses this country, we are told, to be a providential source of blessing to the entire globe.

I cannot help but wonder if what we export is received in the same spirit in which it is allegedly given (I mean come on, those roses with which the Iraqis were supposed to greet our soldiers sure ended up looking a lot like rifles). Is it possible that others may not be particularly fond of the blessings we keep trying to give them?

Just because we say, really loudly and with lots of force, that we are just trying to help, doesn't always make it so. There is greater reason to believe that intense persecution by Muslim fundamentalists would be a blessing to the American church than there is for the idea that an American-style government and culture would be a blessing to the people of the third world. I mean, concerning the first scenario Jesus himself told us as much (Matt. 5:11-12), but that still doesn't make us actually desire it.

So maybe a healthy dose of national humility is called for, especially on the part of us Christians whose Bibles tell us that unchecked power, untold wealth, and greed euphemized as ambition, though as American as apple pie, are called in Scripture "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (I John 2:16).

If we don't want Islamo-fascist oppression here, and if they don't want our "free markets" over there, so what? Whether it comes dressed in camo and army boots, or in turbans and sandals, it's still Babylon.

And stamping it with a crescent or a cross won't change that....