‘Amidst Perilious Waters’

It’s not supposed to be this way” Frodo Baggins – The T wo Towers. I received a circular e-mail this week which, using images of the holocaust, sought to raise concern that this dark chapter of history had been removed from the UK’s national education curriculum.
I proceeded to check these claims and whilst they proved incorrect, there are concerns that some schools are not teaching on such events as they may be deemed ‘difficult’ for students with certain cultural or religious views to deal with.
I’m not sure anyone with a conscience wouldn’t find scenes from a film like ‘Schindler’s List’ most troubling, but the reality of that event, of the Killing Fields in Cambodia, the atrocities in Bosnia and the extermination of the Armenians, and many others besides needs to be part of our understanding of the ‘modern’ world, where certain beliefs and ideologies have generated such horror.

 

The mailing brought to mind a scene from the aforementioned film, of the children from the factory being rescued literally from the jaws of death at the gates of Auschwitz. I wondered in the light of over a century in which these dark actions of genocide have pervaded humanity what is the real value of such a moment? If modernism is correct, and history is merely as Darwin and others have defined it – a survival of the fittest – then the actions of one man in seeking to rescue a few lives from extermination is pointless – the universe is merely a large scale story of cold and dreadful cruelty with no purpose, so why should we seek to fashion ourselves as something garbed in virtues of altruism – the only absolute reality is death for the individual and extinction for all life, now or in the future.

And what of contemporary Christianity? What of those known figures from this field who say they believe in Christ and salvation yet inherently advocate peace with the very notions of our existence that have essentially invigorated such evil – that ‘god’ uses pain and suffering and death over millions of years as the means of His work – that this amounts to His “good” creation? What does redemption from sin and death, from a FALLEN creation mean in such a context? What are you left with beyond a “god” of the extermination camp?

Such approaches are doomed to fail us, because they merely leave us where we already are, trapped in the vicious cycle of corruption that now taints creation.

Christianity points us away from such to a greater reality –
a first, mature creation, made good, which then became corrupted.
It points us to promise in the healing of that first order, through the ‘seed of the woman’ – the man, Christ Jesus.
It points us always to miracle – creation, promise, incarnation, resurrection, glorification – those things which lie beyond the futility of the now – only there can this reality be granted viability and meaning, only then does saving lives become truly meaningful.

Our times are in great need for a reality that invests true meaning and worth into existence, that allows us to truly enjoy the goodness of life and earth knowing that these things truly have a value which goes beyond the misery of death and the trials we all encounter.
If we seek to remain locked into an understanding of reality derived from the same notions as the ancient pagans – that the universe essentially perpetuates itself, and we are no more than a fleeting ‘blip’ on that scope – then no action, no value, truly has meaning.

Christ has come and revealed to the world the glorious surety of a greater truth.
We are here by design, and our lives therefore have purpose. The key requirement now is for us to recognize that greater truth.

                                         – Howard Nowlan

_________________________________________________________________________

Will “political correctness” help to lead us to our doom, or will it make it easier to set aside old scores and move on with the process of “evolution”?

 

How might this play out in the reality of Jesus Christ? 

Thanks to Howard Nowlan for this contribution.  You can always find stimulating and edifying thoughts on Howard’s blog ‘Rebel by Nature, Righteous by Force’ :

http://wwwjustifiedsinner.blogspot.com/

18 Responses

  1. O.K. Let’s nail this one straight away. We have a National Curriculim and the Holocaust is on it both in History and Religious studies as overt elements and within Citizenship and Literature as more discreet components. My Sports Studies colleagues cover the Munich Olympics.

    OFSTED (The Office of Standards in Education – the very scary national inspectorate) would absolutely castigate any school which showed that thay were not following the curriculum and they would soon find themselves in “Special Measures” – shape up or we’ll close you down.

    I speak as a teacher.

    My Kids know all about the Holocaust and there is a national programme of paying for post 16 students to visit Auschwitz.

    Where do these stories come from?

    I received one such unsoliscited e-mail with wonderful and moving graphics claiming that the subject was not being taught in Britain in deference to Muslim sensibilities. It asked me to forward it to as many people as I could think of.

    I deleted it, but not before putting the person who forwarded it to me right.

    Who makes this rubbish up and what are their motives?

    Now, Quadratic Equations. THAT’S hard. I can understand someone not wanting to teach that!

    • Forgetting the e-mail…I quickly gravitate to the last proclamation of wonder and truth:

      “Christ has come and revealed to the world the glorious surety of a greater truth. We are here by design, and our lives therefore have purpose. The key requirement now is for us to recognize that greater truth.”

      Thank you, Howard!

  2. Political correctness is shorthand for tolerance of lies. It will lead us nowhere except to hell.

  3. “Who makes this rubbish up and what are their motives?”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/6517359.stm

    The above link is to a BBC story. Someone ought tell the BBC to stop making this stuff up.

  4. Thanks for the BBC link, Steve. Here’s another one from the same period from the Times (UK Newspaper) which also expressed these concerns:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article1600686.ece

    As noted, there may be issues over the accuracy of certain claims associated to the mailing itself, but it touches on a matter of huge import (which was actually being discussed again on British television once again this – Sunday – morning).

  5. But he added: “Teaching of the Holocaust is already compulsory in schools at Key Stage 3 [age 11-14].

    “It will remain so in the new Key Stage 3 curriculum from September 2008.

    “As Alan Johnson made clear in January there are certain subjects which will be protected in the new curriculum and that includes the Holocaust.”

    There may be isolated cases, but you can’t get away with not doing it for long.

  6. I just read the Times Article. It’s a bit light on detail but good on generalisations.

    What did disturb me was the quality of some of the subsequent comments posted which should warn us of the consequences of poor journalism.

  7. ‘What did disturb me was the quality of some of the subsequent comments posted”

    What disturbs me is the way we can ‘major in minors’ –
    I clearly stated concerns about any generalizations in my opening comments of my blog (which, in spite of that, seems to have become the focus here), but used the receipt of the original e- message itself to examine DEEPER issues – the relevance of our presuppositions in correspondence with the supplied by divine revelation, so glibly ignored by modernism – that is the crux of the matter!

    Thanks to Jim and Nancy, who clearly ‘heard’ what I was driving at.

  8. Edited:

    What did disturb me was the quality of some of the subsequent comments posted”

    What disturbs me is the way we can ‘major in minors’ –
    I clearly stated concerns about any generalizations in my opening comments of my blog (which, in spite of that, seems to have become the focus here), but used the receipt of the original e- message itself to examine DEEPER issues – the relevance of our presuppositions in correspondence with the Truth supplied by divine revelation, so glibly ignored by modernism – that is the crux of the matter!

    Thanks to Jim and Nancy, who clearly ‘heard’ what I was driving at.

  9. Nice piece Howard! This reminds me of something I just heard.

    Some Lutherans over on Radical Grace were exposing the error of dispensationalism ultimately it denies Christ but going to some of the “wheel house” passages regarding the alleged “secret rapture”. But what you end up seeing that the church historical has always confessed and Scripture clearly proclaims is exactly the opposite of dispensationalism.

    The dispensational setting is this: Christians under the “secret rapture” will be wisked away, those left behind are in the bad category. Yet when we read Jesus on the last days he clearly says of answering the parable question, “Lord did you not plant good seed in your field”. Answer, “the enemy has done this, planted tares” and Jesus goes on to describe how it will be at the end of the age when the angels will come and uproot, pull out, the tares and remove them from the field to be destroyed in the unconsumable fire. Whose “left behind” (remember in dispensationalism that’s a bad thing), the wheat and the tares are removed for destruction not vice versa. Same thing when Jesus speaks that as it was in the day of Noah, two in the field one is taken one is left and so on with two more examples. Again in dispensationalism the “left behind” is the bad, but yet when we examine clear Scripture on this we find “as it was in the days of Noah”. Who in that day was removed from the earth and who remained? It was the saved, Noah and his family, that remained and the unbelievers removed (just the opposite of dispensationalism).

    We see this CLEARLY in the OT types and shadows pointing to Christ. Most clearly in Joshua (is the same as the Latinized Jesus) when he crosses the river Jordan with the church after the years in the desert (also type and shadow of the church age). They first destroy Jericho, the walled city of man, after 7 trumpet blasts (also in Rev.), then go on to conquer the land of Canaan up rooting the usurpers, unbelievers. Here again it is the unbelievers removed and not the believers.

    Creation will be restored greater than ever sooner than later…come Thou quickly Lord Jesus.

    L

  10. Spot on, Larry!

    I recall the popularity of the gnostic ‘rapture’ hope in the 70’s (thanks to the works of Mr Lindsey and co) and note its resurgence in popular Christian fiction, but anyone who studies it’s origins in the late 1900’s knows it’s a total non-starter.

    The ‘meek’ (those saved by grace) shall indeed inherit the earth – that’s the new world coming, not some incorporeal blast off.

  11. I enjoy being meek enough to believe in the Mysteries of God without the need for full understanding.

  12. “Truly I say to you the hour approaches when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…
    do not marvel at this, for the hour comes when ALL who are dead will hear and come out, some to a resurrection of life and some to the resurrection of judgment” . John 5:25-29.

    This is ‘the hour’ that’s to come.

  13. Howard,

    I was just asking my wife last night, given the gnostic nature of the way dispensationalism “interprets the Scriptures” and perpetuates this superstitious fiction, “What’s the significant different, other than directors, money and star power between the “Left Behind Movies” and the “DaVinci Code” series movies? And for that matter the books?

    Answer: Not one thing!

    Maybe we ought to see about getting a Lutheran “Left Behind” movie made. Synopsis:

    “The world seems to be going to hell in hand basket. The secular’s are panicking and looking to the government for help. And pseudo Christianity is playing the sleuth for “whose the antichrist”, looking for the signs and the return of the Jewish state. Enter a small town seemingly insignificant Christian group, they’re not sweating much, just business as usual Word and Sacrament ministry. Many are aghast at their seemingly carefree none worry take on life’s problems. Some begin to ask, “look at all the hell going on and the signs what is your hope that you seem to just live life”. Fast forward, Jesus comes suddenly, the unbelievers reaped and the Christians Left BEHIND as the scene clothes with snippets of the NEW heaven and earth that is eternal. Fine narration: “To the chagrin of the global warmest and the dispensationalist and all other chicken littles, Jesus came back just as He said He would and His people remain left behind in God’s Creation to enjoy it and Him forever and ever…Amen!”

    Would it sell tickets?

    L

  14. “Would it sell tickets?”

    I’d buy one!

    But then I’m a sucker for happy endings!

  15. “I’m a sucker for happy endings!”

    So many of us are, which is no doubt why the remain so popular 🙂
    Went to see ‘the Outsider” this weekend, and between the OTT blood and gore of some scenes, the story was very familiar –

    A person from another world comes to earth to deliver mankind from a beast that is destroying humanity and all other life.
    Hmmm…I wonder where we find the fulfillment of that storyline!

    Larry – it’s valuing the ‘ordinary’ (as Lewis put it). We so often miss the ‘glint’ of grace because the church is chasing the extraordinary, the ‘other’, when His presence is right here. Christianity that is sourced from that reality….what a change there would be.

  16. “I’m a sucker for happy endings!”

    So many of us are, which is no doubt why they remain so popular 🙂
    Went to see ‘the Outsider” this weekend, and between the OTT blood and gore of some scenes, the story was very familiar –

    A person from another world comes to earth to deliver mankind from a beast that is destroying humanity and all other life.
    Hmmm…I wonder where we find the fulfillment of that storyline!

    Larry – it’s valuing the ‘ordinary’ (as Lewis put it). We so often miss the ‘glint’ of grace because the church is chasing the extraordinary, the ‘other’, when His presence is right here. Christianity that is sourced from that reality….what a change there would be.

  17. ‘What did disturb me was the quality of some of the subsequent comments posted”

    I was referring to the subsequent posts on the Times article.

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