Thursday, September 30, 2004

What will you take a bullet for?

I was recently at a men's retreat for my church, and one of the speakers was a man named Dan Allender. Excellent input. I continue to ponder his words (3 weeks later), which, to me, is the ultimate test of the impact of any message.

One of the things that stuck, and is getting pondered, was the title question for this entry: what will you take a bullet for?

Further amplification would be to ask yourself what stance/position/value/thing are you willing to uphold to the point of death? Sadly, for many, I fear the answer is "nothing". I think this comes from an absence of introspection, and an abundance of distraction. I would encourage us all to ponder this question, and get to the core of who we are.

How would I answer?
My first, reflex response was: my family - wife and three (soon to be four) kids.
Next came "oops! What about my Christian faith?" How easily we take what we view as secure for granted.

Sidenote: I am a fan of a Canadian singer, Steve Bell. Kind of Dan Fogelberg-meets-Bruce Cockburn music. Very good, thoughtful music. On his website, in the "Conversation" section, mention was made of his criticism of the war in Iraq. I was a bit dismayed, but not surprised - a Canadian artist slamming the U.S.? Shocking! So many view the U.S. through socio-economic glasses (Brittney, WalMart, etc.), and miss the true core of who we are, and why we do what we do. We are a Judeo-Christian Democracy. Study those words, and it will explain America's core.

But it got me thinking more about the "bullet" question: is the war on terror a "bullet" issue? Yes.
Why? Firstly, it touched upon the first two of my responses above, but it also goes to who we are as Americans. Read the Gettysburg Address, maybe for the first time. It is still true about us. We are reluctant warriors (Yes, we really are reluctant. We ultimately want to be left alone to make money and buy things, and let you do the same), but we are unrelenting when provoked. We will stop you from trying to harm us, or die trying.

We are William Wallace. We are James T. Kirk. We are Patrick Henry. We are Ward Cleaver.
Lest you laugh at the last entry, think a minute: who doubts that Ward Cleaver wouldn't have protected his family and country to the point of death?

In closing, I thought it good to go ahead and post the text of the Gettysburg Adress. Read it. It may explain alot.

The Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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