A Time of Crises

There are some times and some generations that seem to be times of crisis and trouble all the world over. In the year 1848, there were revolutions in France, Germany, Italy, and Austria Hungary that threatened to overturn leadership. The Irish were restive because incompetent British governments had allowed the Irish to starve in a massive potato famine. The United States had just finished beating Mexico like a redheaded stepchild and taking half of its land in one of the most unjust wars we have ever fought as a nation. That unjust act of theft would later erupt into civil war less than a generation in a time of other great crisis around the world.

Few who pay attention to the new would deny that we live in a period of great crisis. Wherever we turn, we see evidence of deep conflicts that fester and that create bad blood. In our churches we see schisms and deep philosophical rifts over authority and legitimacy of scripture, and corrupt leaders who wish to support their cronies rather than serve their brethren. If we are fans of sports, we see corrupt dealings in FIFA over bribery, or lockouts that threaten football or basketball seasons. Nor are we safe if we turn to the political realm, where we see riots and revolutions, elections held under the fear of military coups, demonstrations against laws designed to break the power of unions, or risings against bloodthirsty dictators that seem manipulated by figures whose goals and ambitions are even less pleasant to consider. Everywhere we turn we see ambitions, ferocious conflicts, and an absence of genuine humility and leadership.

Everywhere I turn I see conflicts, whether they are open hostilities, or merely dark and worrisome undercurrents. It is as if we are living our lives on a giant powderkeg and trying to light fireworks to cheer victories in one of our numerous interminable struggles. It is hard to escape the feeling that times of crisis such as we are in are impossible to avoid, simply because the problems of corruption and the cultural divides among all of our institutions: family, business, religion, community, or nation are too deep to ignore. And so every attempt to understand this division, this conflict, makes it more impossible to see any solutions that do not involve a great deal of suffering and conflict. Sometimes civil wars and even world wars are inevitable, and no matter what one does, one triggers some kind of massively destructive repercussions. Are we in such a state today?

If so, let us at least reflect upon what is at stake in our various conflicts. To the extent that we can keep our own desires and demands from being unreasonable, we can at least avoid unnecessary warfare. If when we fight we fight to the bitter end, as is the case with me, we can at least seek to avoid any unnecessary fights, even if we fight all necessary wars brutally and decisively. Let us not pretend that any of the deep rifts we see around us will be resolved without massively expensive and bloody warfare. Nor let us assume that any sides in the various struggles are entirely in the right. For just as it is sometimes necessary for struggle to destroy and punish the wicked, so it is necessary also for trials and struggles to refine those who are only mostly right, even though it is difficult to examine one’s self in the face of worldview struggles with savage and hostile blood enemies, even though such examination is necessary if we wish to avoid suffering judgment ourselves.

And so, if it is our task to live in dangerous times of constant crisis and conflict, as would appear to be the case from a survey of the broader culture around us all over the world, let us be wise enough to realize that in such a time of conflict we need to be aware of our allies where they may be found, and not to engage ourselves in unnecessary intramural squabbles when so many meta-cultural fault lines cut through our world and force the specter of grim battle on us. Let us fight no unnecessary wars, but let us ensure that we do all we can do win those wars we fight, for there is no purpose fighting if one is not prepared to win.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American Civil War, Church of God, History, Military History and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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