While young Islamic militants skulk in dark corners savoring hatred of the world for their own persecution, the Christian movement pushes its agenda with the money and power of much of Western civilization behind it. You see the pot churn. Convection moves the hot water to the top, and the cold water sinks to the bottom, only to become heated and rise once more. It is the heat of their passions that drives them. A passion I lack. Therefore I can observe them freely, but I cannot interact. I am but a third party without catalytic power.
So it is with many things…
On the streets of my city, the vagrant homeless beg for money. I see them every day. I pass them on the sidewalks, and drive by them on the streets. Sometimes I give them money, but not often. I suspect that they will buy drugs, or alcohol. If I could, I would join them, but I am not afforded that luxury by virtue of responsibilities and guilt that pin me to my place as effectively as spot welding holds the parts of my car together. It would take a collision to free me, and then I would be broken.
I sit through church and listen to the metaphorical dogma and wish that I could believe, but each word conjures a responsive truth that I cannot ignore. The words of man. The words of men. The letters that they have written through the ages. They are but letters. They mean nothing to me. I hunger for God, not for words. God does not speak in words. I will not find him in a church. I cannot hear God’s word from the mouths of men, for what God has to impart cannot be understood with verbal utterings and symbols on paper. It must be felt. It must be experienced. And for that you must be quiet and listen. I cannot experience God in church, because the Pastor will not shut up.
In my mind, the words of the great Humongous sometimes haunt me. “Just leave the gasoline and walk away,” he rasps over his PA system in that gritty gravely voice of his. “I will give you safe passage through the wasteland, if you just walk away.” But I do not trust the great Humongous. He and his savage followers have been slaughtering pilgrims for years, and they don’t show any signs of stopping. They have grown fat on sadism. They enjoy the slaughter. That is why people join him. They live in fear of his wraith, and they know that their fear will only stop if they listen to his words and believe in him. But he doesn’t speak the truth. He is merely a collector of power, and those who follow power out of fear are sheep. My teeth are too sharp for that.
So I walk the wasteland, powerless and hungry. And I watch the slaughter of the sheep, wishing that I could help them, but having scarcely enough courage to defend myself. Their salvation is a test for the presence of God, like litmus paper in a bottle of diet Pepsi that has been emptied and refilled with Coke. One of these days there’s going to be a taste test, and I don’t see a clear winner.
Power to the people.