The Night of Long Knives

Quick history lesson first before we get into the here and now.

The Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht) occurred more than 70 years ago.  This was a German move against members of their own society – Jews.  Jewish-owned stores, buildings, synagogues, homes, hospitals, and schools were attacked – windows broken, demolished, ransacked, vandalized, and burned to the ground.  91 Jews were killed. 30,000 Jews were arrested. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses had their buildings destroyed.  Up until this point in time, Jewish persecution in German-held territory had been limited to politics, social status, and economics.  Following this night, that persecution shifted to physical violence – beatings and murder.  Kristallnacht is considered the very beginning of the horrible evil that has come to be known as the Holocaust.

Now, why would I bring this up today?

Because we, as humans short on perspective and wisdom, are so prone to revisit the mistakes and evils of the past.

Following nearly a week of church burnings and Islamist attacks on Christian sites, the targeting of Christians in Egypt continued with reports of nuns being paraded in the streets, two Christians killed, a statue of the Virgin Mary decapitated, and two Christian female siblings being groped by a mob.

Many Islamists Fault Egypt’s Coptic Christians

In Egyptian village, Christian shops marked ahead of church attack

Islamist mob parades nuns in Cairo as prisoners of war after six hours looting church school and replacing cross with banner resembling Al Qaeda flagThe tremors in Egypt threaten to engulf the region and the world as an whole in a conflict unseen on this planet for a generation.  Christians make up a small minority of the population in Egypt and they are a likely scapegoat for the troubles in that country, the question we have to ask ourselves is who the Egyptians will blame when all of the Christians have been bled out or fled the country.  Israel is next door.History has a nasty habit of repeating itself.

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Prize Fight

Is it possible to be meek and unassailable?

Meekness is a hard concept to understand because it is not a word that is used terribly often in modern society.  The modern definition is akin to calmness and gentleness.  As followers of Christ, we are called to behave meekly in all matters.  Christ did not come to call us to being completely submissive or compliant with the world though, but to challenge it openly.  Now some might say that is a paradox, but I don’t believe it is.

I believe it is completely possible to be meek and strong at the same time.  What strikes me is odd is how much focus is on Christians being meek.  The word “meek” appears four times in the entire Bible (1 Kings 21:27, Psalm 37:11, Zephaniah 3:12, and Matthew 5:5).

David may be our best example from the Bible about being openly meek.  Throughout the Psalms, he shows humility and deference to God, but was David weak?  Was he a pushover?  David routed those that came against him and Israel because he was centered and controlled.  He was gentle, he was humble.

Could meekness be strength under control?  The writer of Proverbs seems to think so.

The wise prevail through great power,
    and those who have knowledge muster their strength.

Proverbs 24:5

This is all well and good because we are called to draw strength from God through faith, but how can we apply this to the world today.  Why does this matter?

We are in a prize fight.  Christ says that the “meek shall inherit the Earth,” but never stated how.  The world, as I have mentioned before is fallen and at war with itself.  The one constant in human affairs since the beginning of recorded history is that war is never far in the past and never far in the future.  How does a people seek to live meekly without appearing weak and ready for conquering or slaughter?

President Theodore Roosevelt may have best summed up this paradox resolution with the philosophy of speaking softly with a big stick.  In order to be gentle, one must be strong first.  Meekness is controlled and disciplined strength.

Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

Colossians 1:11

Strength uncontrolled is rage and destruction.  Humility without strength is an invitation to those with strength to attack you.  Strength and humility in tandem is a powerful combination as it allows you to respond patiently.  Why did Christ direct us to “turn the other cheek?”  Not to offer it up to be hit again, but in order to confront our attacker directly.  To dare the striker to try it again while we are looking, ready, aware, and able to respond.  Why else then would David praise God in this way?

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    my fingers for battle.

Psalm 144:1

David understood the way strength, meekness, humility and faithfulness all must be intertwined in order to sustain yourself in the world.  In order to achieve the peace and prosperity promised, in order to gain the inheritance promised, strength was needed.  That strength was harnessed though by his faithfulness to God.

Great you might say, but how does that matter today?

Consider the incidents in Benghazi and Cairo on September 11th, 2012.  American soil was attacked.  An Ambassador was killed along with other American citizens.  The President of the United States, together with the other talking heads of his administration, have waffled about this issue.  They have stated that it is our own fault by blaming our freedom of speech and the movie maker of some two-bit piece of junk that has been online for months anyway.

The administration has blamed terrorists within Libya of the attack, but without acknowledging the command and control exhibited by the attackers which allowed them to not only overwhelm the Consulate in Benghazi, but also the former Navy SEAL bodyguards with the Ambassador, and the supposedly secret safe house.  

They have blamed the passion of the mob, but independent reports from inside Libya have said there was no mob in Benghazi prior to the attack.

The lack of coordination here is not the patience I spoke of above, but rather than ineffective understanding of the fundamental problem that the United States, and western civilization as an whole, has with the Islamic world.  We look weak.  The United States has enough firepower and destructive power pent up that we could destroy every square inch of this planet, yet the person who wields that mighty gauntlet is weak because his personal viewpoint of America’s role in the world is not one of strength and preeminence, but one of supplication.  The President has been deferential, has promised more flexibility in the future, and has literally and figuratively bowed before the world.

This invites disaster.

Why have American deaths in Afghanistan in Obama’s not quite four year term totaled 1458 when President Bush’s term ended with 575 American deaths?  Is it because we are winning the peace and the war is “winding down?”

No, it is because the current Commander in Chief does not understand the basic precept of si vis pacem, para bellum (“if you wish for peace, prepare for war”).

David did not shy away from war.  He was humble. He was obedient. He was faithful.  He was a warrior with strength under control.  Our current President has neither strength, nor control, and that lacking is an invitation to the forces arrayed against us in this world to challenge us.

Just look at the news for examples of those challenges.  China and Japan are potentially heading toward a war over uninhabited islands.  A peace deal with the Taliban has been scrapped (the fact this was even considered is a sign of weakness too). Russia is reestablishing it’s influence in it’s former Warsaw Pact states.  The U.S. is running out of Benghazi with it’s tail tucked between it’s legs.  North Korea has increased it’s belligerence and threats of war. Drugs, weapons, invaders, and war has spilled over our southern border more than once during this President’s administration.

Instead of being meek, we have a President who is weak.  The rest of the world knows it too and are taking advantage.

Set the World Ablaze

Foreign policy?  Domestic security?  Listen and understand – they are two facets of the same thing.  By appearing weak and ineffectual, the President has invited this.

Worse than overseas protest, is that there are no incoming threats made at universities all over the country.

As this President’s inability to stand up and lead, to show a strong face to a culture that only respects strength, I believe that we will begin to see more incidents of this.  The threats don’t even need to be credible.  Imagine if every university in the country received a bomb threat Monday morning as classes have been underway.  Imagine how many people need to be evacuated and how many bomb squads there really are.  Imagine that happening every day of the week.  How long would it take for the police bomb squads to grow exhausted?

Now imagine if just one of those threats proved credible.

When the ambassador in Libya was killed, the President should have immediately ordered a marine expeditionary unit to land and retake the embassy forcefully.  The simple fact is that President Obama lacks the moral fortitude to act when the situation at hand is spiraling wildly out of control.

 

Act of War

It isn’t every day that you see an act of war go completely disregarded.

Overnight, the US Ambassador to Libya was killed. Along with the Ambassador, three embassy staff were killed also.  Earlier in the day, another State Department officer was killed.  Couple these deaths with the invasion of sovereign US soil, which an embassy is under recognized international and U.S. law, and we witnessed not one, but three distinct acts of war on the parts of the people of Libya and Egypt.

Is this the Arab Spring we were told was happening?  The ushering out of brutal dictators and the ushering in of the rule of the Arab fanatical mob?

We may not have felt it today here in flyover country, but our nation was attacked three times in the past twenty-four hours, and we have done nothing.  We will do nothing because our current commander-in-chief is incapable of regarding the world as it is and recognizing our enemies for what they are.

War has been declared, the physical territory of the United States has not only been violated, but citizens and officials from our nation have been killed in cold blood.  Will we sit and do nothing or will we take heed of George Washington’s calculated advice?

If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.

George Washington

 

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