Friday, June 09, 2006

...like a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.

I’m sitting in a hospital waiting room and CNN is into the never-ending analysis of the death of Al-Zarqawi. He’s called the second most famous terrorist in the world today. This is, they say, an obviously huge psychological blow to world terrorism. What will be the final read? Right now it’s all conjecture, but, at this remove, the prevailing attitude is that Al-Quada won’t be sneaking home with their tails between their legs. No imminent surrender in sight. If there was a solution to suicide bombers, the Israelis would have figured that out long before now. So, in the long run, what’s the actual significance of his death? After all the debate, maybe there is no significance. But there’s no denying that at least he won’t be responsible for more deaths and it makes us feel a little better, even if only for a day or two.

I guess it really is better for man to eat, drink and be merry. As much as we try, the world really is out of our control. We want to scream a resounding no, like admitting lack of control is some sort of weakness. But it’s the essential, the unavoidable reality.

Comments:
Ecclesiastes tells us three times (chapters 2, 3 and 5) "That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God."

Yes, toil.

There is work to be done.

The Israelis never sleep in their endless war against those vipers, the terrorists, and neither should we.

When my dad returned from a trip to Israel in the 1990s, he described how tough their security was and I asked him if he had a sense whether the Jews would tolerate another Holocaust. We laughed and my pop shook his head in a very sobering way. goddamned right they won't

We celebrate the demise of Hitler, Ted Bundy, al-Zarqawi, etc., and we move on. Never cease working for good. Because those terrorists aren't resting either.

The world is not out of our control. It always bugs me when certain Christians piously say: "Well, God's in control of everything."

No he's not.

He gave us control of some things. He gave us control of our attitudes and our actions when faced with difficult decisions. Viktor Frankl's seminal work "Man's Search Meaning" explains this quite clearly. The Viennese psychiatrist drafted the book while he was interned at Nazi death camps. He discovered that you can strip away everything a man owns, but the man always possesses his ability to choose how he will react mentally to a situation. Nobody can take that away.

So, no, God does not control everything. He gave us our free spirit and free will.

Otherwise, we would simply be marionettes dangling by strings from heaven. No thanks.

He created us in his image, and that means we have the scary power to imagine and envision the future and make it happen.

God recruits us, enlists us and equips us for action.

We must fight on.
 
I have found, brother Theo, that in this life I can change two things. Everything I think and everything I do. Pretty simple, eh?

Sure, I can mount the effort and change to some extent what others do and think, but only if they let me.

Human control, ultimately, is control over the personal and internal, as Frankl teaches. So too does the apostle Paul. External changes to others, even when coroprately agreed upon, stem from the decisions and choices of each individual involved and each, while maybe agreeing, has a different part and different motivation for the same choice.

Christians are taught in scripture to be in the world and not of the world. This idea and scattered passages suggest that the world is Satan's and not God's, that the realm of his ultimate control is not the world of Satan or man, but that internal/spiritual world where we make the choices. But,as you point out, he gives us the free will to choose that or not
 
When you call me brother Theo, it reminds me of cranky old Uncle Reuben Klopek in "The ’burbs" (1989) ... remember the one starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern and Carrie Fisher? My kids love that movie!
 
Damn. I loved Bruce in that movie. I think I gotta rent it tonight.
 
OK, leo why are you in the hospital waiting room..
 
Alright, Dave. My wifey had some lady-type removal surgery. After kids, things were amiss and some had to go and some had to be re-positioned. I'm home with kids for a few days and I took next week off work. Two are basically gone from the house (I have 6) and the other 4 are pretty self-sufficient but under age. I make sure they eat right and don't burn the house down. Other than that, I'm pretty much a lawn ornament around here.
 
We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers....
 
I too send wishes for your wife's recovery (and lots of sympathy for the suffering she's been through.)

Regarding al Zarqawi's death and the future of terrorism, it seems likely that the snake will grow another head, but for now, it's flopping around without one and that's good.

What’s the actual significance of his death? It's justice for the poor people whom he personally beheaded.
 
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