Global Thermonuclear War [mark]

As of this moment I really ought to be asleep, but I’m not. Instead I’m watching WarGames on Netflix. You know, the 1983 movie where Matthew Broderick is a brilliant computer genius whizkid who hacks into NORAD and starts global thermonuclear war? It’s a great movie! Also, you can’t tell me that Ally Sheedy isn’t really, really cute in this movie. Swoon! …ahem. Right.

One of my favorite lines is when Dr. Falken expresses his deepest regret with his creation, “I never taught [the computer] the benefit of futility.” Funny thing, I’ve been pondering futility a lot lately, that’s why I decided to watch this movie instead of giving some much needed sleep a roundhouse kick in the neck.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these battles we Christians are facing. The battle for prayer in schools, the battle to keep God in the pledge of allegiance, the battle to protect marriage; I wonder if we’ve ever stopped to run the simulations to see what the casualties would be.

We’re in a battle of good vs. evil, ladies and gentlemen, and we are losing, but not in the way that you may think. You see, the battle of good vs. evil has turned us all war-minded. We think in terms of black and white, armor, blade and steel; we treat people with an “us vs. them” mentality until the Christian motto is, “join us or die!” Grace and mercy have moved far down the page.

The battle of good vs. evil is a sleight of hand trick, fixing our eyes on the enemy in whatever form he takes and off of God. We’ve been taught that goodness is light in a dark world and we couldn’t be more wrong. Goodness does not create light any more than a lightbulb does in its box on the shelf.

Just a heads up, I’m about to talk about menstruation.

There’s a curious thing in Isaiah 64:6 that Bible translators have been protecting our gentle, Christian ears and eyes from for centuries. God calls our righteousness “filthy rags” which makes us think, “yuck, better throw that in the laundry pile.” Ummm, no. “filthy” means menstrual blood-soaked and “rags” means old clothing. #pukedinmymouth

Oh my God, that is disgusting!

Seriously, stop trying to fight evil with that. It’s super gross and it is making everyone nauseous. It’s time we learned the benefit of futility in this war. God isn’t calling us to be good; it’s never been about goodness for Him. In the eyes of God, people fall into two camps A. those who are His and B. those who are not. Those who belong to Him will enter His presence, heaven. Those who do not belong to Him will be eternally separated from Him. It’s not fire and brimstone, but that’s the only earthly analog to the absence of the presence of God; it burns like fire in the soul.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood, neither is our armor. We are geared up against slings and arrows but not against people. Before people we are laid bare, like David before goliath, like Jesus before those who crucified Him. He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, exposed and vulnerable, like sheep to a slaughter. In this there is no futility. There is no way to reach people with the message of Christ but through this exposed vulnerability.

Do we really think that a homosexual man is going to look at our attack strategy and think to himself, “those well-dressed people have a great argument, I guess I should stop being gay and join their club.” In these war-games against evil, to quote the computer at the end of the movie, “the only winning move is not to play.”

The only winning move is to love The Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

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2 thoughts on “Global Thermonuclear War [mark]

  1. Good first post! I definitely resonate with the idea of ‘spiritual warfare’ becoming a sort of idol in itself (in that the eyes are drawn to it and off of God).

    I think this is not a disagreement on anything other than terminology, but I wouldn’t say that “God isn’t calling us to be good.” I think He most definitely is, but I think it’s our definition of ‘goodness’ that needs to be reshaped. Self-righteousness is the what I think of as I read your post. Goodness or righteousness that comes from ourselves, or from the comparisons we make of ourselves to other people (and our perception of their level of goodness/righteousness), are the ‘filthy rags’ we remove in taking off the ‘old self’ and pushing deeper into God, being transformed into His image by His goodness.

  2. I’ve been of the mind set the past 7 years or so that false-Christianity is when we believe the Gospel is about being good. I’ve (unfortunately) been in conversations where being a “good person” was the good news, rather than the beauty and supremacy and character, and work of Christ. It’s sad, and I myself can easily be tempted into it, that so called-Christanity can so often be without Christ. #mayitneverbe

    All that being said, there is a new thing God is trying to develop in my thinking to provide a stability of faith and works; works being defined here in a true way (as compared to self-righteous), in the vein of may your light shine before all men and God bringing forth our righteousness as the light. (If there’s one thing I would have liked you to expand on and teased out, it would have been that.) But, as you said, our definitions of what we war against and how we war are often times very different than Gods.

    Liked your intertwining of culture (movie) and deeper thought. Also chuckled a couple times. Looking forward to reading more this season.

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