Worms in the Wood

30 05 2009

Change always brings the crazies out of the woodwork.  Here, you’ve got one man walking through town naked, telling everyone that some Middle Eastern nation is going to kill, destroy and maim.  The end is near, they say.  There, you’ve got a man lying on his side for days next to a street, talking to a cake made with mud, babbling something about how the country has lost its faith in God, bringing down wrath upon everyone.  The end is near, and the sky is falling.  One man even married a prostitute, just so he could write verses about her and compare her to the sinfulness of the country.  We’re all going to Hell in a hand basket, and we forgot to pack a lunch.  The country was once founded in faith, dominated by one set of beliefs, but something external worked its way in.  The country once served a higher calling but now serves only itself.  The people who once were in love with God, who founded the country for the sole purpose of unifying under one religious code, now love only themselves and revile any rules that would suggest that they not do exactly as they please.  Now we’ve got self-proclaimed prophets and conspiracy theorists trying to make everyone afraid that the end is near, because their religion is waning, and they’re afraid of seeing the country change.

 I could be talking about the United States of America, but I’m not, yet.  When the ancient nations of Israel and Judea were adopting the beliefs and lifestyles of the nations around them, compromising faith and purity, all kinds of people claimed to have a word from the Lord, threatening punishment.  The prophet, Joel, told that an army would come from the north and take over the region, that they would be unstoppable.  The prophet, Isaiah, said that Babylon would prevail and take his entire nation into exile.  Yet, even though that nation of Judea was, in fact, far less faithful than it had been in times past, it was still far more in league with the laws of Yahweh than was the nation that came to conquer it.  Prophets predicted judgment on God’s nation, which still retained some faith, but where were the prophets of Babylon, which never had any such faith?  Seemingly, the nation that had never followed God was getting rewarded at the expense of a nation that had once followed God, and even yet still followed him a little.

 Why is it that a man is deeply angered and hurt by the woman he loves, who once loved him but turns her back on him, but he is unmoved by a woman on the street who never loved him in the first place?

 Joel was right, though.  Assyria from the north conquered Israel and led them out with cruel hooks through their jaws, like fish.  Isaiah was right, too.  Babylon besieged Judea until the people started to eat their own children, and then the Judeans were taken away and scattered.

 Ever notice how loud the religious conservatives are getting?  Notice how they portend disasters and coming storms; how they believe that there will be a great war in the Middle East and calamity will befall the United States?  Ever wonder why a halfway Christian nation would expect the wrath of its own God, while the same God fairly ignores the faithlessness of pagan nations like Nepal and China?  To some, it seems like the whining of a losing team.  Ground that the Christians could once take for granted is now probably lost forever.  To others, it seems like history repeating itself.

 We love those who love us.  We are most easily hurt by those we love the most.  We believe that God loves us, but we don’t seem to think that he has feelings, ironically.  God is only love, never resentful, right?  He only rewards, but he never punishes, right?  We expect him to let the country slide until it has completely lost its faith and looks exactly like the nations that never believed, and then we think he might do something about it.  Punishing a faithless nation is like beating a dog that hasn’t got a clue that it did anything wrong.  Try yelling at a coyote, “Bad dog!”  What do you think it would do?  If you’re lucky, it would walk away.  You can’t train a dog that has no loyalty.

 Yes, the End-Times crowd is really in their wheelhouse now.  The nation is on the brink of falling into a pit that it can never crawl out of.  We’ve got industrialized infanticide and legitimized homosexuality.  Some despot, somewhere, is itching to show us a little divine nuclear punishment.  The screams of the religious right keep getting louder.  Their tactics seem to get nuttier by the day.  They’ve been stricken from the schools and the textbooks.  They’ve been defeated at the polls and denounced by the press.  They’ve been censored here and there, yet they keep coming through with their absurd claims of conspiracy.  They claim that the government is out to silence them.  I can’t imagine why they would think that…just because it’s true.  You start changing society, and the voices of the old way warn of bloody murder.

 The only problem, though, is how starkly frequent the nuts prove to be right.  The only thing worse than crazy people everywhere warning the world of impending doom is crazy people everywhere accurately warning the world of impending doom.