One Pastor’s Thoughts (On a Dangerous World)
When I was a boy in the late 60’s and early 70’s the world was frozen in an ideological war that needed no explanation; it was all perfectly clear. We wore blue, the Russians were red and the rest of the world had to pick a side and play. The Russians wanted to take over USAmerica, unleash the KGB, change techno-color into black and white, take our Bibles and close our churches. John Lennon suggested it might be more complex than we imagined but we doubted it. Sting hoped the Russians loved their children too but we doubted it. Rocky Balboa jogged from the steps of Philadelphia all the way to Russia and made a speech from center ring, maybe in Rocky 37, about how we could all get along but we doubted it. I saw the great symbol of Russian Communism, the Berlin Wall, for the first time in the summer of 1983. I never imagined I would live to see that wall come tumbling down but tumble it did (and soon!) and buried beneath the rubble was supposed to be the end of hate, fear and insecurity. By now lambs and lions, eagles and bears and children and asps should have been lying down together…they should have been.
Then came 9/11, and collapsing with the World Trade Towers were our post cold war hopes of a peaceful world. It appeared the red devil we knew with the bifurcated tail, the pitchfork and USSR on his chest was now replaced by a new evil and his name was Legion. In the old world we knew well where to find the devil, he was in Moscow but finding legion is to look under every rock in a thousand deserts. In the years since 9/11 we remain a nation bravely trying to be positive, open minded and confident but we are afraid and we don’t know how to stop the fear. Every time I take my seat on an airplane I circumspectly examine the faces of the other passengers looking for a hint of evil and I don’t even know how to stop myself.
It is 2015! All wars should have been won, all diseases cured, all problems solved and all people loved but we are no closer than we have ever been. If ever the church existed for a time, I believe the church exists for this time. Christianity grows best in the soil of cultural uncertainty…it always has.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois.