A student at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair back in April of 2000. His project was to show how conditioned we have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. Of course this is just as applicable today as it was 20 years ago in just about everything we see and hear. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dehydrogenate monoxide.”
He delineated the following seven good reasons to do so, since this chemical:
- Can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
- Is a major component in acid rain.
- Can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
- With an accidental inhalation can kill you.
- Contributes to erosion.
- Decreases the effectiveness of automobile brakes.
- Has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
As a part of his project he asked 50 people if they would support a ban of the chemical. Forty-three (43) said yes, six (6) were undecided, and only one (1) knew that the chemical was water.
The title of his prize-winning project was, “How Gullible Are We?” He felt the conclusion was obvious.
As we look around our country today we see so much violence and hatred on every side. I have almost stopped watching any news because it seems they are all prejudiced towards what they want us to believe and not just reporting the news that is happening… if they actually report what is actually happening. Many times they do what the above high school student did, report but with a twist to make us think about what they are reporting differently from what it really is. But this is not what this column is about.
War is brutal. My dad was in the Army during World War II. He served in the South Pacific and finally in India. He shared some things he saw about how brutal it was when I was growing up, but some things he said he felt it was better not to talk about. There is a lot of contemplation, speculation if you please about what is happening in our country and where it could lead. Not only among us as American citizens, but even with other countries, like China and Russia, and the possibility of their doing something because they perceive us as being weak militarily right now. I am not saying any of that will happen, just pointing out what has been said. There is plenty going on in the world today to worry about.
Be that as it may, where does all this talk of violence or war leave us as Christians? I began thinking about David in the Old Testament. He was a man thoroughly acquainted with the savage brutality of war. I am sure that he killed many men with his sword in the battles he fought during his time. Yet the Bible calls him “a man after God’s own heart.”
How is that possible? We want to see David as a man who played his harp for King Saul, and one who wrote psalms to be sung to God. We know that he killed the giant Goliath with a rock and a sling shot. We accept that, but what of all the other battles he was in, using a sword and slaying his enemies? How is he known as “a man after God’s own heart” if he killed so many more in battles of war? How do we reconcile these two sides of David? Have we ever even really contemplated this?
As Christians we have a hard time considering that we might have to stand and be counted among others in our community who are willing to fight for our family’s safety with all that is going on in the world today, much less to consider a broader picture of possibly fighting for the safety of our neighbors.
What would Jesus do? This has been a question Christians have asked through the years when trying to figure out how to handle a difficult situation in their life. There is the story of Jesus cleansing the temple (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-16; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:13-16). All the gospels record this, but John adds an intriguing detail – “He made a whip out of cords” (NIV) prior to His actions that was used as an encouragement to get the sellers of animals and money changers out of the temple courts.
This required forethought by Jesus. He had to decide that he was going to force everyone out of the temple. He knew he would need more than just the spoken word to accomplish his goal. He was going to have to forcefully persuade them to leave. He got the materials he was going to need to make a whip, and then made it. He applied it on those who were selling animals in the temple and the money changers.
But wait! Isn’t this the same Jesus that taught the meek shall inherit the earth, that peacemakers will be called the children of God, that when we are mistreated we should turn the other cheek? Why did Matthew, Mark and Luke omit this provocative detail? Why did John include it? How do we reconcile the fact that the “Prince of Peace” was willing to resort to physical violence.
None of us know where all the things we are seeing in our country today will eventually lead us. What we HAVE to do right now is pray. Are we as Christian people praying enough? Are we as Christian’s even praying about the issues confronting us? I’m not talking politics here. I am talking about Christians uniting together, literally, in prayer for our land. America needs prayer today more than it ever has, I believe, in our 244 year history.
Begin to call your Christian friends and set a time to pray in unison for our Country. If it works for you and them to get together and pray at a certain time do that. But if all you can do is ask them all to set a time to pray with you wherever they find themselves individually, then pray. It could be 7:00 in the morning or 7:00 at night. You may be here in South Carolina and you have friends in California, just set a time so that you all are praying in unison at the same time, allowing for time differences of course.
Prayer is the answer. United prayer together is important. Gathering together or a place to gather is not so much the point. Prayer is. If we as Christians don’t see prayer as our rallying cry, we may find ourselves doing other things to protect our families, neighbors and communities that we are less inclined to do. Those that desire to do so, can join in at noon to pray with my wife and I. We all can pray! Let’s do it. God bless you each one.
Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has been in ministry for 50 years and a columnist for 17 years, 13 of which have been for the Times.