I was in Nagasaki when the anniversary came by. At the morning of the anniversary, everything is quiet except for bells ringing at the exact time of the bombing. I'll never forget the experience. Nagasaki is a beautiful city with a unique scenery reminding me of San Francisco and Hong Kong combined. After the war, there was more interest in Christianity i was told. It was a place many catholic missionaries visited during the 1800's. There's a popular monument where a group of them were martyred.
The problem is our American pride.
Every time that we claim to be an American we embrace that which America does - better to claim that we are Christians and embrace all that He does.
MC, I posted this response before seeing you had ... I just caught a glimpse that we both used the same terminology of "regularly scheduled programming" ... A strange irony, but had to mention it.
MC,If I may abuse the term, I thank God you are my American Christian brother. It would be the same thing if you were my Pakistani brother ...No you are not alone at all brother. I have probably used a variety of terms over the years here and crying on the inside is the closest thing I can give to an expression, that it is like an undercurrent that never stops flowing, it's always in motion. But I also must break off somehow into some levity at times and recognize that we can take ourselves far too seriously - It doesn't change anything one iota ...Just as well I have this continual observation that the world, the worlds reality has a great gloss over it- This morning it was 'masked', it means the same thing. Still I cannot break off from this incredible dichotomy of leaving the prayer closet in the morning getting into my truck (and praying the starter will crank one more time before I get a chance to replace it) and head out into this ... fog. I go about my day as if I was an entirely different person then the one screaming to get out from the inside. I ponder and wonder at the seeming hypocrisy of it all, of myself. Am I just a hypocrite? By the time the day rolls on to completion it seems it is full of regrets and shame just over the thought life, the things that didn't even get past the lips, just that I thought of them and maybe put or pushed into the right circumstances ... would I? I think to myself 'If I was just in some kind of full time ministry - If I could just go back to the days of pumping endless sermons through a Walkman while I worked' (Blessed days they were!). I am finding this life tortuous to live in this present world, it is of it's own distraction, God is not in it's thoughts, it's ways or of it's remotest considerations. It just goes on as if the day of death is always someone else's problem and consideration, always far removed from the business at hand. What is stranger still is, at least in my circumstances the people are not overtly 'heathen' if I could define that loosely. They and I are for the most part plugging away at a living, they are cordial and kind, no vulgar language (Short of some meetings) - Just a common lot. It's enjoyable on that level, challenging things we all face, most are hardworking.But I am not of this world. It's not something said as it is [i]felt[/i], I do not belong to it because I "shouldn't" but because I am constituted against it, I hate every false way and not any more than I hate that false way that is [i]my way[/i]. It's an unending battle and I have settled that but it gets weary still.Most nights it's difficult to come to the Lord and bemoan the same things - I have failed - I will trust you Lord- I will ask for wisdom and I know You will give it - Then the morning starts again, I head out the same way and ... Distracted. Busy. Responsibilities. Things to fix and things to take care of, setup, mitigate, figure out, plan for.Problems at home. Problems here. Care for the Brethren ... everywhere, there is no end of things to pray for, so much so that it can be overwhelming. I watched a very interesting bit on the old idiot box last night; Did you know they have a "Homeless World Cup?" It was incredible, I wish I had caught it from the beginning. Homeless men from practically every nation competing in a street style soccer competition (football to our European friends)- Drug addicts from Ireland - The USA had a representation - They did spot stories on different teams from different nations and I found myself drawn and pulling for the Russians. If I got it right they have 5 million homeless, a staggering number. The gentleman they were speaking with talked of how for them, they had to win it all. They had to win to get any kind of recognition for their plight. Homelessness there is taboo. It was in his speech and his demeanor what this all meant and was really struck by his answer to a simple question; "Who is the best player on your team?" To which he answered; "The best player on our team is the team." They went on to win it all going undefeated and I praised God for it, yet for all this ... Do they yet know the Lord?And the undercurrent comes rising up a few more levels.God bless you MC, for all that you shared of yourself. Christian you are beloved indeed and I am assured of your heart, certainly the benefit of whatever doubt for the posting of this, (and that is neither here nor there) look forward to your response dear brother.
What an interestin thread. Coompton writes...."Contrary to fashionable political caricatures, most Americans are not war mongers. Furthermore, American Christians are not the bitter people clinging to guns and religion as they have been portrayed." Yet Compton also writes very eloquently about his heart and his hatred of sin, his own and others. There is a dichotomy to me here. Its a very complicted picture I belive. I am a Scotsman living in the Bible belt, lived here in Knasas for 18 years. So, I know a wee bit about American Christianity and European Christianty(thats almost an oxy-moron now)I love America. Not just my Christian brothers and sisters, but America and Americans in general. I have found them to be amongst the kindest, if not the kindest people on the planet. I was born-again here at the age of 26, so in many ways it is the land of my "birth." I came over here with my wife and family and $3000. I was a bricklayer. Not a bad job where I come from. 18 years later I am a Real Estate Agent and my wife is a lender and we live in a large, 5 bedroomed, two car garage house with a fountain in the backyard. I grew up , in Scotland, in a "Tenement flat," a one bedroomed high-rise apartment with five of us. The American dream is the level playing field. Not the stuff, but the ability to be succesful, despite my "working class," background and accent. Thats not going to happen anywhere in Europe. This country embraced me and I have found acceptance and kindness almost at every turn, from Americans across the board, whether Christian or not, whether Democrat or Republican. I described Comptons remarks as a dichotomy because he lets slip the general paranoid attitude of my Christian brothers and sisters by using Obama's quote. Its very sad to me that politics has ripped the heart out of Christianity in America. I do know you Compton, in the general sense, I already know that you are a good man and a wonderful Christian. Yet, you do find some(not sure how much) of your identity in the Republican party and partisanship. We , as Christians(I have avoided giving any of my brothers or sisters national labels) should be above the bitter divides of this country. We should be a force for love and unity. We should derive 100% of our identity in Christ and Christ alone. If any of you guys have ever been to Scotland, you will know that you would be hard pressed to find a more patriotic country in the world. We are famous for it and it goes back a thousand years :) Becuase of the poverty and social conditions of the lower reaches of the Clyde estuary in the harsh conditions of the shipbuilding industry, I grew up a "socialist." Now there is a dirty word in America. Do you know, when I was saved, that I lost all notion of socialism. Do you further know that when I was saved, my patriotism was also gone. Do not get me wrong, I love Scottish people, I long to see them saved, but I do not rejoice in Scottish culture. So much of it is an offense to the living God. I find my love in my Christian brothers and sisters, whatever part of the world or social class that they come from or whatever the color of their skin is. I rejoice in the fact that I am color blind. I rejoice in the fact that I can mingle with wealthy people or "poor," people and take them just the way I find them for the Lord knocked both chips of my well balanced shoulders. This is overcoming the world brothers. To be embroiled in the politics and crass arguments of the world is to be defeated. As for the bombing of Japanese cities and German cities, I have to disagree with my brother who resides in Norway. This was a secular action, taken by a secular country against another secular country, despite what my brothers in this land of America may think. The horror that was unleased upon these two countries was a horror that they brought upon themsleves and they only have themesleves to blame. I know this is simplistic, but If I pick the biggest guy in the school yard and go up and punch him in the face, then, rest assured, I am going to get a thrashing. Christian brothers and sisters should let the world get along about its business and live peacably among them. If you really want to change the world, try bringing someone to Christ, perhaps one of those pesky liberals or homosexuals. According to Barna, over 92% of Christians have never saw anyone come to Christ through their personal sharing and if every Christian brought one person to Christ, and that person brought one person to Christ and that happened one more time, then all of America would be saved in less than three years. Isnt it time to put all of our trust in Christ and none of it in Washington?