Wednesday, March 25, 2009

War of the Worlds

Homosexuals cover the plaza in front of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Looking to the sky and holding derogatory photos of Pope Benedict over their groins they chant slogans of protest against the Catholic church. Inside the cathedral, worshippers are trapped and cannot leave. Young pagans distribute condoms to onlookers and verbally attack the church for refusing to conform its dogma to their sexual mores. They claim they speak for the new century. They claim that condoms are the only answer to the aides epidemic. They claim they are tolerant of religion as long as it agrees with them.
In other times British pilots used the twin spires of Cologne's cathedral as directional markers for their bombings of the people of Berlin. Communists used cathedrals as museums to support their claim that religion was dead. Napoleon used cathedrals as stables for his armies conquering Europe. Henry VIII of England stripped the cathedrals of their wealth to reward those who broke from the Pope and acknowledged him as head of the Church of England. God's cathedrals and His people survived all of these blasphemers and they will survive the spiritual Vandals of 21st century Paris as well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

To Witness

Recently, I visited a low security prison on a Saturday afternoon. In the waiting room were many women. Some brought food...some brought children...some were dressed sensually...all seemed materially poor but rich in love. One by one we were called to the registration desk, scanned, inspected and escorted to the cafeteria waiting until the inmates were called on the public address system. As the men streamed in, each intensely searched the room until a familiar face was spotted and a light flickered in their eyes. Familiar foods were shared and the room filled with positive noise. At one table a black Muslim and his white wife stared at a small video. At another table a mother fed her crippled son. Nearby a young inmate rested his head on the breast of an older women and seemed to sleep like a contented baby. I wondered what the future held for all of them. Why did these women surrender a Saturday and make long journeys to visit them? What did these children think about this world when they returned to school on Monday and joined other kids? Where were inmates and families of the rich? Since so many inmates were addicted to drugs that was the reason most were here. Were these men criminals who were addicted or did their addiction cause them to become criminals? I wondered do we punish the sick for being sick? Would we imprison a person who stole drugs to relieve their cancer? Are these people in an endless descent into a final defeat? When we love someone who is terminally sick we often are just reduced to being witnesses of their suffering, and in that sense we become the martyr. The word martyr means "to witness". It is associated with suffering, and indeed, we do suffer when we helplessly watch the journey of the terminally ill. For these men I wondered if their drug addictions were terminal, and if their visitors, adult and child, were called to be their witnesses..their martyrs. Such was the world of drugs in America that Saturday at the prison.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Urban Prairies

Detroit...half of the people have left...the auto industry has collapsed...25% of the people are unemployed...houses can be bought for a few thousand was sold for a dollar...entire zones have been abandoned...looters climb telephone poles to steal copper urban prairie of crushed bricks emerges. The first American city has died.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

21st Century Europe

The Vikings perished in Greenland for a number of reasons, but perhaps the main reason was their persistence in trying to establish a European model of civilization in a land quite hostile to the idea. They quickly destroyed a fragile environment through deforestation, soil erosion, and Euro-ethnocentrism which attempted to destroy an indigenous culture, the Inuit, since it was considered inferior. Had they learned from the Inuit, instead of trying to destroy them, Vikings would have discovered the advantage of building with snow instead of stones and lumber, heating with whale instead of wood, eating fish instead of failing with cows and sheep. After a few hundred years of a failed attempt to reproduce Europe in Greenland, they were eventually defeated and erased. However Vikings did what European colonialists have always done...try to recreate Europe. Thus, we have today the European culture in the Americas, India, and Australia. Areas late for colonization...Africa and Asia still have a slight European aura such as the British in South Africa and the French in Vietnam.

All of this makes today a very unusual moment in European history. Now its culture has ceased dominating the earth and has retreated. Indeed, it is now actually being overwhelmed on its own continent with a large Muslim minority reproducing at incredible rates through migration and birth.
A disturbing time for the European exciting time for Islam. Is Europe the new Byzantium of the 21st century? Will its culture be as invisible in a century as the Byzantine culture is absent in modern Turkey? Or will there be a Christian religious and politically enlightened renaissance?