Sunday, 05. July 2015 by Renee Ellison
(Thoughts on the 4th of July of 2015)
How strange it is that since the dawn of man we have thought we could advance ideologies through technical means. Superior aim, brute force, bulls-eyes, bayonets, chariots, dynamite, and atomic fusion have been our means to change thought—or so we imagined. Our focus has been upon military brass. We’ve ignored the fact that the earth has a soul.
If war is in the hands of good men, benevolent men, we see that war can be a means for stopping further war, at least for the moment. But have we ultimately gained anything, in the long run, if we haven’t changed the heart? Don’t the contrary ideologies live on in the ashes—smoldering away, gathering combustion for the next outbreak of force?
Furthermore, if war is in the hands of evil men, what then? If they gain the technical advantage, wild with desire to advance barbaric ideologies, having the upper hand, do they really advance even their own ideologies? Or do they, so equipped with artillery, tactics and intrigue, descend into irrationality—becoming so engorged with greed, that power itself becomes their ultimate ideology? After their wars, they are apt to see their victories descend into rejected persuasions that implode as the masses break out against their insistences. Just give it time. Resting on their laurels, the evil warriors (some masquerading as refined elites) will be delivered from personal angst for a few hours, perhaps, but will afterwards become vaguely aware of increasing restlessness in the hearts of the conquered. This is experienced, in spades, by any monarch, who the day he ascends his throne begins to note whispers from relatives who would love to usurp him.
Ultimately, all that war does is muzzle opposition and silence dissent for an hour or two. War, in the hands of mere men, does absolutely nothing to change the heart—or enlighten humanity. The results generally won’t last; just wait a half hour. (A few hundred years is but an hour or so, in the overall framework of history.) The American War of Independence was followed by the War of 1812 and then the Civil War, where Americans killed themselves, more comprehensively than all the American men lost in wars with our outside enemies. Our war to fix political problems (including states’ rights and slavery) meant we maimed and killed far more in the process: a staggering 620,000 (recent studies move it to 850,000). The racial issue festers still, and the battle for states’ rights vs. federal rights emerged again, just days ago! World War I (“the war to end all wars”) was followed by World War II. Even when a war must be waged to stop immediate wild aggressions, amassing ammunition is no avenue to achieving lasting conflict resolution if we don’t afterwards tend to the hearts of men. Our world today is peppered with wars in every direction—and massive conflagrations are flaring in the wings.
One has to ask, what did the Visigoths and the Huns, who overran Rome, grow in Rome’s ruins? How was this an advance—even for themselves? Is living among carnage and weeping stone better? When ISIS has killed the last Jew, what then will they live for?
Napoleon had it right when he meekly observed that “Jesus Christ was the greatest military leader of all time, because He conquered men by love, not force.”
In scripture we find the head-turning verse for a yet future time: “Neither shall they learn war anymore.” Why? Because war, in the hands of mere men, ultimately advances nothing. Thus, in the kingdom, God will see to it that we will cease to learn it, or to teach it to our sons.
On the other hand, war in the hands of God will in the end advance everything. We were born into a red hot war, begun long before laying the foundation of the earth, and we shall see its end. The unequaled power of “almightiness” is the last trump card, when men won’t be persuaded by their own military exploits. When man descends into a slug-fest, God takes on his irrationality and kills it by almighty means. By eternal muscle. By lightning and trumpets and plagues, and hail, and hurling meteorites and planets in the cosmos—slamming them even into the earth. If man won’t be persuaded in the tender recesses of his heart, by the most divine of humble sacrifices, spilling righteous blood, every such man, bent on evil, will at last be conquered by a parade of Armageddons of another sort.
The hour is late. Let us advance the cause of Christ by prayer, by persuasion, by increased ardor, by unabashed boldness. Let us “kiss the Son” while He may yet be found, believing that war for the hearts of the sons of men is the greater and final battleground.