Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Monday, December 21, 2015

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah

Is it fair to describe any nation’s history as if God was in the business of punishing them for sin? Is this how we see God and history today? Why or why not? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 547).

If one listens to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” it is clear that at least in the view of the fervent North, God’s wrath was punishing the South for the sin of slavery. I am not a historian, but I can conjecture that there are many alternative explanations of why a society based on slavery would fail – this list could include economic, cultural, social, political, ideological, historic, demographic, geographic, and even diverse psychological factors. It doesn’t seem very helpful analytically speaking to wrap the whole thing in a cauldron of sin and retribution. Yet I think it is clear we cannot understand the Civil War apart from its religious and moral context and the perceived manifest destiny of human liberty.

I like to think of a culture much as a growing plant susceptible to a whole host of potentially lethal threats. I live in Florida and have seen ravaged orange groves. It is clear that constant effort is required for healthy cultivation of an orange crop. But sometimes even despite one’s best efforts the grove can be hit by negative forces in which effective action to control or eliminate the threat is not currently possible. In such cases it does not seem helpful to load upon the farmer insinuations of guilt and shame rather than compassion for the ever-present human condition of widespread vulnerabilities.

Print Page