February 23, 2003

Revive us Again

Excerpt from
Revive Us Again. A Sojourner's Story by Jim Wallace ~ Abingdon Press, 1983

Why does this description of America written in the early 1980's sound so familiar? Just substitute terrorism for communism...

[...]America after World War II offered a dream brighter than ever before. We ruled the world. The economy was booming. Our standard of living became the envy of the rest of the nations. It seemed to many that God had surely blessed us. Our national righteousness was evident in our wartime victory and peacetime prosperity. There was plenty for all who ere upright in character and willing to work hard enough to succeed.

But, like our parallel pursuit of military security, there was never enough. The more we stockpiled possessions and weapons, the more insecure we became. Accumulation and armaments did not bring us security. It was all an illusion.

Had we read the Bible more carefully, we would not have been surprised. Biblically, security is found in the presence of justice and peace. The all-embracing pursuit of material success and comfort distorted our priorities, our faith, our church and family life. We were captivated, seduced and captured by the materialism of post-World War II America.

If the reaction to the Depression was frenzied pursuit of affluence in my parents' generation, the response to the success of World War II was unbridled nationalism. The years of my growing up were the peak of American power into the world. We had our way -- always. We were the strongest, richest, and, we thought, most righteous country in the history of the nations. For all the fear of the Soviets, there was no one in the world who could pose a serious challenge to American dominance.

The anti-communism which followed World War II was pervasive. It became almost a religious cause and served as a convenient cover for American commercial, political, and military adventures all over the world. No matter what our country did, no matter how we intervened in the affairs of other countries, no matter how much suffering our policies brought, the great cause of anti-communism was invoked, and every act of political subversion, economic imperialism, or military aggression became justified and even took on the noble character of a religious crusade.

Time magazine named Wallis one of the "50 Faces for America's Future." His books include The Soul of Politics (1994) and Who Speaks for God? A New Politics of Compassion, Community, and Civility (1996). He continues as Editor-in-Chief for Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace.

Posted by fred1st at February 23, 2003 07:47 AM | TrackBack

Did this mentality ever end in the first place to be rekindled? Or is it just burning that much brighter in lieu of recent events?

Posted by: Josh at February 23, 2003 01:28 PM

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