Friday, March 14, 2014

Something to Die For...

     Today I would like to bring back a post from my previous blog, The Blackhorse Inn.  This was from early on in the beginning of that blog but I really like the questions it raises. I never did come back to it and arrive at any concrete conclusions but maybe re-posting this will afford me the opportunity to do so.

     Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below, I would love to hear from you. Also, please share on your favorite social media site if you are so inclined. Thanks!

     No onto "Something To Die For..."

     Last night I was listening to my iPod and on came a song whose chorus stated, "Give me something to die for..."  We often hear the phrase, "Give me something to live for," but this other way of saying it seems more profound.       There are plenty of things out there to live for, there is no short supply, but that rarely seems to be enough for most people.

Russian soldier rallying troops,
killed seconds late
     I remember reading a book about the English Hooligans.  The conclusion of the book was that these English males (mostly) needed a sense of belonging which, in the past, was supplied by National pride during times of war such as WWI and II.  With the lengthening time since those wars, men in England looked to something else to bring back that National pride.  They found it in their football clubs.  But it wasn't enough to just go to the matches and support their clubs.  They had to move it to a feeling of war.  With all the prejudices that arise in war and the colors and violence.  We have often focused on the English but there are smaller versions of this all around Europe.  It seems that a club worth living for wasn't enough.  These people needed a club worth dying for.  So they raised their support up to a level that certainly could bring the possibility of death.     
Football Hooligan
     Are these football fanatics an isolated example?  I am beginning to wonder.  We see it in the military, in militias, on the roads, in gangs, in the political realm, in religious conflicts, and even in pacifists.  When I started to think it through it was quite amazing to me how pervasive this idea is throughout all of culture.  It manifests itself in many different ways.  There are violent gangs, there are militias and warlords, there are homicide bombers, there are vigilantes, and there are even peace protesters who put themselves in harms way.    What do all of these people have in common?  They all seem to have a need for something more, something to die for.  If a leader asks his people to live for him, some follow and some don't but nobody does it with much vigor, but when a leader asks his people to die for him, the support is overwhelming and intense.  We see this most often at times of war.  When a speech is made by a president or a prime minister and the people rally around the cause.  When a country goes a long time without some life and death situation, the people seem to lose the passion for life.  Things get dull.

     Then I thought about the fact that we are all created in God's image and wondered about what this idea said about God.  Is He interested only in having something so important that it is worth dying for?   And is that the sort of passion that He instills in us?  That we have this inner desire to be involved in something so important that it is worth dying for?  And what happens when there isn't anything like that?

     I can see two things ending up happening.  Either people become self absorbed and ultimately depressed and live in a sense of hopelessness and apathy or they begin to attribute greater importance to lesser things.  The classic example would be the English Hooligans.  They, without a real thing of value in their lives to pour their passion into, elevated football to a thing of utmost importance.  Important enough to die for.  And many did.  Some people increase risk through dangerous activities.  And some take usually mundane protests to the extreme.

     I think that all of these things point to an inner passion that drives us to finding something in our lives of such paramount importance that it is worthy of death itself.  Somehow it seems that death is more important to us than life.  And life, without the threat of death does not interest us.  To the point where we will go to great lengths to invent things that involve the threat of death.  Ultimately, for some, choosing to die by suicide rather than live life without that thing that is worthy of dying for.

     Of course it is not that I am saying we want to be oppressed and live under the threat of death such as what might occur in an abusive relationship or slavery or tyranny.  No one desires that, but what I am talking about is a positive thing that we can believe in, get behind and support to the point of death if necessary.  You might ask how gangs or drug cartels can be positive.  To most of us they are not positive but when you hear the people involved in them talk, they view it as positive.  A family sort of system.  They belong to something bigger than themselves.     

     I think that is the key to the whole thing.  Each one of us knows within that we are not the biggest thing in the universe.  We all know that there is something bigger than us out there.  And it is a burning desire within each of us to belong to that thing that is bigger than we are.  There are millions of things that people choose to be a part of but, as a Christian, I believe the thing we are desiring so deeply is God, Himself.  That thing inside us is really desiring to be a part of God.  And don't think that isn't dangerous.  Don't think that is void of the possibility of death.  In fact, it requires standing against evil.  Evil that certainly is not remiss in killing when the opportunity presents itself.  Actually, belonging to God requires death.  And in death, victory.  It seems to be what we are made for.   

     So how do we work that into what we do?  Without turning it into some new "holy war".  How do we keep it positive?  Or, maybe it is God's plan to change our propensity towards death to a deep desire for life.  And if it is, I can only imagine that happening in a place completely different from this place.  Someplace like Heaven, maybe?  I haven't finished thinking about this and don't have any conclusions to offer you in closing.  So please bring your own comments to the table.  I think this could be very interesting.

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