by Elizabeth de Barros
The only thing more dangerous than the spirit of the age is being unaware that you’re caught up in it. Like Times Square after New Year’s in the rain, America today is full of the aftereffects of a party gone bad, but many are too intoxicated to notice. To the level of distraction and amusement we’ve stooped, we have sunk to new lows and the mood is dark. Sobriety only comes at a price the morning after. Thumbing through TIME magazine (Monday, Jan. 16, 2012) the other day, an article caught my eye — 10 Questions for Chris Kyle, a candid interview with former US Navy SEAL sniper turned author who earned three Silver Stars in Iraq for expert marksmanship with the deadliest record in American military history. The lines between his brow and the edge in his words: “You live in a dreamworld,” both pointed to something truer than my comfort zone was used to. One question the interviewer asked was why he could kill a woman with a grenade in her hand but not a little boy in Nasiriyah with an RPG in his. “That day I could not kill a child,” was his reply. Something higher than a top brass command to kill informed Chris Kyle the day he let that boy go free. A reminder of how rules not of this world play into the hands of a Sovereign God. No dreamworld there.
Meanwhile, atop our lime-treated soil on this slightly tilting planet, our isms keep us busy clicking away online and picking from shelves of well-stocked stores, feeding off pig slop on TV and allowing our app-hungry devices to consume us while we treat our pets better than our neighbors. We’re split right down the middle — an angry couch of fiction readers, softer than marshmallows, living in the land of Diversion with two fists raised in the air. National pride faces its own dichotomy amid pleas for someone to rescue us from moral decay without having the collective conscience to uphold the standards necessary to recover them.
The spirit of the age has swooped down like a giant bird to carry off in its bill this suffering generation, convincing us that we’re fighting for a just cause — namely, our rights.
The spirit of the age has swooped down like a giant bird to carry off in its bill this suffering generation, convincing us that we’re fighting for a just cause — namely, our rights. Look around. Every institution is under siege. Marriage is in the hopper, getting redefined. The term “family” can mean anything you need it to mean. Parents can choose their baby’s sex beforehand and children can decide their gender afterward. Our churches are in crisis, schools need policing, leaders from every sector are dropping like flies for doing unspeakable things. And the economy sustains a head wound that won’t heal while backpacks set up as portable living rooms in the public square. Ideological ire is everywhere. Around the globe, protest and unrest have become a way of life.
For the Christian, things are dicier than ever. While intolerance is a sitting duck, tolerance is a ticket to hell. The Word of God is Truth, but if discernment isn’t rooted in faith working by love, entitlement is a silent creeper and soon your judgments will subtly begin and end with you. The fog of spiritual battle can be thick, may even cause temporary blindness. Things are getting harder and harder to separate and figure out. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Remember what Jesus said to Pilate when asked if He was King of the Jews? He answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Soothing words. Terra firma. Rules not of this world. Still, the clanging of cymbals can be attention-getting loud. Knowledge abounds while Truth declines, Anti-Semitism rises as judgment falls, and walking circumspectly may mean keeping quiet when everything in you wants to scream. You may have knowledge, zeal, and confidence, but they will mean very little if you do not have Christ. Tumult in the city, tumult in the Church — one thing is clear: The Zeitgeist is a very big killer bird.
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
-Psalm 11:4 (ESV)
For further meditation Psalm 11 2 Timothy 3:1-7 Isaiah 11:2-4 Isaiah 24 Author’s Note: Reference in this blog post to TIME magazine does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the author nor is the article meant to be a political commentary on war or exploit the horrors of war. Use of said article is strictly anecdotal. Retired Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was called “Al-Shaitan Ramad” (The Devil of Rahmadi) among insurgents and is known as “the legend” among his SEAL brothers. He now lives in Mid-Texas with his wife and two children and considers himself to be a better husband and father than he ever was a killer.
Postscript: On February 2, 2013, Chris Kyle was shot and killed, along with veteran companion, Chad Littlefield, at the Rough Creek Shooting Range in Erath County, Texas.