Friday, April 13, 2007

A Dream Deferred

I've been pondering over it all week. What is it that was so diabolical about Jim Jones and Jonestown? Sometime this week I realized that what struck me as I watched on Monday night was the way Jones (and I think a demonically driven Jones) manipulated hope. His followers hoped for community, for peace, for equality, for freedom. And they were used. There is nothing much more evil than to manipulate and destroy another's hope and dreams for your own end. Scott Peck has identified evil as a psychological category which is essentially narcissistic. I can't help but think of Langston Hughes' poem, "A Dream Deferred" when I think of those victims in the hot Guyana sun.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Don't Know What To Say...Re: Jonestown

I watched the "American Experience" episode about Jonestown last night. Very troubling. This one told the story through the words of former members, those who had family members who died, those who escaped. Even Jones' adopted African-American son was interviewed.

It is troubling to see how people who believe in the right ideals (multi-racial community, egalitarianism) can follow and believe in the wrong man. It is also frightening to see how easily hundreds of intelligent, thoughtful, passionate people could be led astray and for so long.

I was amazed at how early his heretical preaching began...yet, these "church-going folk" simply ignored the "red flags".

I'm afraid he was right about at least one thing; the sign over the dead bodies spoke the truty and continues to cry out: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Repeat it they did and repeat it they shall.

God, awake us from our apathy and slumber, while the masses are led into destruction.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Resurrection to Pentecost

In modernity, Christians felt compelled to "prove the Resurrection". These noble and valiant efforts have resulted in apologetics which build a "case" based on statistics, "reasonable conclusions", and evidences, but, ironically, neglecting (or refusing) the evidence which is undeniable "proof": Pentecost. This was Peter's message: it was the Resurrected Jesus who poured out the Holy Spirit that the observers saw and heard. And now, the gospel of the Resurrected Lord has gone around the world, by the power of the Holy Spirit. (The picture is by Malaysian artist Hanna Cheriyan Varghese)

Hallelujah! He is risen! He is risen, indeed!