Monday, May 30, 2011

Meandering Thoughts on Memorial Day

My feelings are always torn on Memorial Day.  I don't want to disrespect at all the honor and sacrifice of our military personnel.  I'm sure that many of them have performed admirably in service to a cause.  It's just the cause that sometimes causes me to feel unpatriotic.

The military has marketed itself very well.  We've largely bought into the idea that it is all about honor and sacrifice for the good.  Read some of the first-hand accounts of the enlisted men in Afghanistan and you get a different picture.  You might try Kent Russell's "Ryan Went to Afghanistan" to begin with.

Of course there is the familiar rhetoric of protecting our freedoms.  Who doesn't want to be free??  And freedom has a cost.  We celebrate today one kind of cost.  Men and women have given their lives in the course of protecting our freedoms.

But there is another kind of cost.  The fundamentalist Muslim world sees our freedom mainly as licence to pour filth into our lives: Watch our television commercials for a weekend, and what is the vision of the good life that we're peddling?  Out of control beer, sex, and violent video games.   Baywatch was the most popular TV show in the world last decade.  MTV was the most popular television network in the world last decade.  That's the price of freedom too.  We have to put up with such trash because we don't anyone telling us what we can and can't do.

When does the church flourish?  Not when Christianity has become trivialized because it is so easy.  Do I want some persecution?  No, of course I don't.  I want easy.  Would some persecution be good for me?  Probably.  In a sense, that is what the spiritual disciplines do for us: we willingly subject ourselves to more difficult circumstances because they produce in the kind of fruit that doesn't grow during easy times.

"I pledge allegiance to a country without borders, without politicians."

I'm sure glad I live in a country where I can write such stuff and not worry about the government showing up at my door to haul me in...


Lisa Joy said...

Good thoughts.

Here's one lieutenant colonel's take on Memorial Day, as well:

J. B. Stump said...

Thanks Lisa. This business is complicated (as most worthy things are).