Sunday, February 16, 2014

Old Man

The “old man” of our carnal nature lurks ever vigilant.

Waiting patiently for the night of complacency to descend on our hearts and minds he is ready.

Possessing the power to escape we slowly become enthralled with the illusion of this life and turn our gaze.

Out of the mist of the forest he appears…

There's an old man living in the back of your woods tonight
You forgot he was even there, but you've never slipped his mind
He’s living off the scraps of you, you never knew you left behind
And as the sun goes down, he rises with a smile

He knows you have the answers, but Truth lies dusty on your shelf
And the sword that you could slay him with has become an ornament and nothing else
You could put him back down in his hole in the ground, but he knows you never will
He’s been around so long you got used to the smell

He knows Hell will never have your soul
But he will gladly rob you blind
While you're feasting at his table, he’ll tie your hands and numb your mind
He’ll take you farther than you wanna go
He’ll keep you longer than you wanna stay
And it will cost you more than you ever thought you'd pay

He’s waiting on the night to fall
The old man’s coming to call
You don't see the writing on the wall
He’ll never step out in the light
No, he’s just biding time
And while you slumber, he’s gonna come and take it all
He’s waiting on the night to fall
Casting Crowns

 O wretched man that I am!

How can I escape this old man that is taking me to my death?

Only by humble control by the Spirit.

Only by ceaseless immersion in the presence of God.

Only the naked soul in persistent prayer.

Romans 7 and 8

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Is war to freedom what oil is to water?

Oil. Water.

Freedom. War.

Some things just don’t go together. 

We don’t often think of this in relation to war and freedom but it is equally true. America has strong written rules regarding freedom of speech, assembly, rights to be heard by a judge/jury, protection against seizures without warrants etc. much of which has been enshrined in our Constitution. But what happens when we become embroiled in a conflict? How well do these freedoms mix with a state of war?

During the Civil War, Lincoln issued numerous executive orders and military regulations without the initial sanction of Congress. He declared martial law far from combat zones, seized property, suppressed newspapers, and suspended habeas corpus, all based under Article II of the Constitution. The Commander-in-Chief was well, commanding. He was acting according to his discretion all for the public good. Congress would often agree with him after the deed was done and the Supreme Court was  reluctant to disagree during the War. The times were desperate and people generally understood that things would go back to “normal” after the war and things did. 

The same basic events occurred in the subsequent major conflicts World War I and II.  Seizures of factories, mines, railroads, price restrictions as well as wartime restrictions on speech occurred. The order by Roosevelt, Executive Order # 9066, which cleared the way for the deportation of Japanese Americans to internment camps resulted in the now famous Supreme Court case Korematsu v. United States. The Court held that is was legal to do so.
We look back now aghast but it was really par for the course. Roosevelt at one moment of conflict with Congress said “In the event Congress should fail to act I shall accept responsibility and I will act.”  A Commander-in Chief with some fire in his belly. Right? After the war, things again largely went back to normal.

Let’s fast forward to the present. After America was attacked on September 11, 2001, Bush issued numerous executive orders relating to the deployment of military and security forces and the detention of captured terrorist suspects. We have stretched our normal understanding of and treatment of American citizens. We narrowed our definition of torture to allow for water boarding and we began to utilize our immense powers to spy even upon our own citizens which was activity only furthered by President Obama. Fourth Amendment violations? It’s war, nothing new to see here just move along. 

April 12, 1861- April 9, 1865.

December 7, 1941- September 2, 1945.

September 11, 2001-?

As we approach the thirteenth anniversary of the war on terror, now four years longer than any war we have fought previously no end is in sight. Civil liberties continue to be assaulted and I wonder how long till the oil of freedom becomes completely separated? Must we surrender our freedom in order to protect it? Who has won then?

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin from long ago,
If a free people feel compelled to relinquish liberty for security they deserve neither and in the end—

will get neither.