The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Monday, May 20, 2013

Brave little...Belgium... and many others

Here is a fascinating speech which is the subject of a lecture on learning the art of public speaking.

BELGIUM  You'd need to either listen to the speech or study up on the history of the place to gain an appreciation for what I'm about to unfold.  The speech was by Newell Dwight Hillis a congregational minister of Brooklyn USA.
It's a bit difficult to know if he is an old man who looks young or a young man who looks old in this.. but that's by the way. His speech was to call America to the support of poor little Belgium with it's 42,000 man army in the face of the German war machine and it's 2 million soldiers.

Hillis recounts the tragic history and abuse perpetrated against the hardworking and very productive Belgians... "The new soil of Minnesota produces 15 bushels of barley a season...but the Belgians can produce 35 bushels on old well used soil"...  Then he recounts the brutality of the Spanish against Antwerp and how it once had 125,000 population, but after the Spanish had looted and pillaged the place (because of it's jewellery and valuable) there was only 50,000 poor souls left.

The speech is without doubt moving and emotive. I cannot imagine how an American politician would not be deeply moved by this great oratory.

What I do find interesting is that once again we find that the selective choice of history forms the basis for a passionate view of how things ought to be "now" (at Hillis time).  We can also learn how fickle human nature is... these poor little Belgiumites, swarmed on by the Spaniards, savaged   by the German Rottweiler,  and in desperate longing for some escape..... were themselves on the smooth end of a very rough stick that they wielded the rough end of.. in the Congo.

 Look..search.. struggle... strive.. scour...the details of histories page about Belgium, and you will find as for all periods..there was no 'good guy'..just a bunch of competitive bad guys greedy for power.
I defy anyone to point to a particular group which did not want to dominate others in the name of their own freedom, and which exploited somebody for their own sake.

There is a story Jesus told that is instructive about this.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.  As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. (Matt 18:23ff)

I'm playing the role of the 'other servants' who see humanity for what it is.... Today it's "Poor little struggling Belgium" tomorrow it's oppressive evil cruel Belgium in the Congo.

I am not led...I am driven, by the force of history's narrative to concur with the great Apostle Paul...

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good,  not even one.”    “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”  “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood;  ruin and misery mark their ways,   and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes"  (Rom 3:10ff)

How are we travelling ourselves?  In our natural state are we any different?  If not be deliberate act..then by our silent complicity?  Is there a solution?  I believe there is.

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