As Christmas finally lands this week in the land of peace (or war?) I am reminded of the dichotomies of this season in our history. In the traditional measure of generations at about 20 years a piece, we are three generations from America's last big one - World War II that is, two generations from the start of the Vietnam war - the American national disgrace, and now approaching a full generation since the end of the cold war. Well thank God, we're pretty much over 'war' as a national proccupation right?
Oh that's right we are still at "war". The White House reminds us this week that this is the first time in forever that the Presidency will transition while the country is at war. Now if your family is in Iraq or Afghanistan at this point - you know that they are away at war.
But ask an Obamanik, and the only problem we are trying to resolve is to end the financial commitment to Iraq. And end some kind of 'conflict' they are having over in that Afghan (?) place (like it's some kind of blanket thing on their sofa).
After all America is a land of peace. Except for a few problems in the past, America is the most peaceful country in the world. All we need to do is get GWB out of the White House and we can get back to the peace we generally consider normal.
Now, given their preoccupation with flushing Christianity from the public debate, the public property, and next the money, we can hardly blame Christianity for either war or peace, but at the time of year that celebrates the concept of 'Peace On Earth' as a basic goal of Christianity, we should ask ourselves what role Christianity plays in the concept of "peace".
Growing up Christian, I have been reminded in recent years - principally since 2001 - that Islam is NOT a religion of peace - despite GWB's new mantra that it is; that Allah and God are one and the same, and that he has apparently effectively announced that all roads now lead to heaven. (I didn't think we had turned over heaven to the American government - despite our relentless efforts to relinquish every other freedom and joy we have to them). In reality Georgie has missed it again. He doesn't know his authority level, and apparently doesn't know his enemies - or theology - either.
While I strongly agree with my teachers that Islam is not a religion of peace, the evidence is also clear that Christianity is not a religion of peace either. Both religions are about their own exclusivity as the only right way to God. And that is pretty much where the similarity ends.
Of course we confuse countries and fundamentalists on both sides of the fence. Islamic countries may or may not be peaceful (I'd say "NOT") and Christian countries may or may not be peaceful. (Much room for debate.), but fundamentalists on either side of these two religions are clearly growing definitive - and many militant about their positions. And the muslim side is growing militant faster.
So if you claim any type of Christian heritage from your country, you are soon going to be deciding if you prefer militant fundamentalist Christianity, or bowing to Mecca five times a day. Because peace is no longer remaining an option on the table.
And now with Washington's new flag waving decidedly in favor of Islam in the Jewish/Muslim support debate, this long growing international conflict is coming to land squarely in America beginning this coming year.
Of course you could never have explained this aspect of their choice to an Obama supporter in 2008 as they "rode the wave", but this is a sheep's life, and as long as 'the peace' can be maintained in the midst of pursuing greener pastures, why not enjoy the free ride?
And now the wake up calls begin as the growing beat of the steady drum now becomes faintly more audible, and the calls from Kenya, and Hawaii, and other lands of the 'obamanation' denomination begin to ring like a ding-a-ling thing. Adding of course to the chorus of Tehran, and Kabul and Damascus.
In reality, Christ was not a messenger of world peace. He was the messenger of personal peace with God - the only peace achievable in the midst of a world war - the only peace that supersedes the limits of human life.
In reality, Jesus was an instigator; a trouble maker; a rabble rouser and provoker. Anyone willing to take on the temple of his day, was taking on the equivalent of all known government and religion in one fell swoop.
Today, the equivalent would be all of Washington, Brussels, Rome and Mecca in one aggressive attack. Doesn't exactly seem peaceful to me. And imagine denouncing every known leader of people as incompetent with real authority based on the skill to 'out-speak' and 'out-perform' every voice on the stage of the day? Reducing leaders to a fools status with a stick in the sand, or a simple - but profound - question? Peaceful approach? Hardly. Master of non-violent provocation? Absolutely.
So what's with the Christian church of today?
It's decision time.
Enjoy this last 'peaceful' season because the end is near.