I was up at 4:00 this morning — don’t sleep a lot. Turned the television on for early news and The Patriot was on. I’ve watched it at least 30 times. In fact I purposely watch it at least once a year. Why?
War in America
Colonel Benjamin Martin of the Colonial Army Militia lived a story that every American should know — should study. We should understand what happened to early settlers in the New World while still under the domination of the ruthless government of England’s King George. Martin led a rag-tag group of farmers, ministers, teenagers, with a few former soldiers mixed in against the largest, best trained, and best funded military on Earth. Why? American colonists wanted to finish what they fled Europe for: to build a free nation with self government. King George did not take to that idea too well.
That war killed thousands, tore families apart, destroyed homes, farms, towns, plantations and the government. But most of those colonial colonists held on to that dream of independence, re-grouped again and again to maintain their independence. Driving the British from American soil was not a hope — it was a must. And they did.
In a hotel restaurant in Modesto I saw an actor friend having breakfast. He came to my table to say hello. He gushed about a movie premier he had seen two nights before at his good friend Mel Gibson’s home. My actor friend (I will not give his name) is a Christian as was the movie. It was “The Passion of the Christ” — 3 Oscar Nominations, $612 million gross in its theatrical release, and remains the highest grossing non-English language film of all time.
That movie re-told a well-worn story to the World that personalized for all the last days of Christ. Its success came from its ability to relate to all. Jim Caviezel depicted better than any before the horrors of Christ’s last days. When I saw the movie the first time I sat riveted by its message to the World of the Savior. It changed me. How so?
My world as that of most Americans had numbed to the Christianity of my youth — my “personal relationship with Jesus.” Once more I was confronted with a real person who really lived and really died. But that was just the beginning — for the World AND for me.
Tie the Two Together
The Patriot vividly chronicled what is probably the single most important historical American event. There would be no USA without The Revolutionary War. Every tenet of our political system, every freedom, every social culture is a result of that war.
The Passion of the Christ chronicled what millions believe to be the most important person in World history. It did so in a manner that was identifiable to all who watched. Its magnetic attraction to its message imparted to all its viewers the realities of not only Jesus Christ the human being, but Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Both movies because of their messages and impact became and are still very controversial. Both have assisted in lighting the current Winds of War in America. And isn’t it ironic that both movies with their life-changing historical messages were given to us by an Immigrant — Mel Gibson!
Winds of War
The winds of war I refer to are those that were born here at home. They are not from the Heartland. They were birthed on the East and West coasts, the products of an ideology unrecognized by most Americans until recently. Those winds are of Fear and Hate. And just as the raging fires in California are still burning, so too are these winds.
These winds were sparked by a socialist education environment that now permeates American schools at every level. They birthed Antifa, Socialism and Supremacy’s rebirths, Me-ism, Elitism, and Political Correctness. It fanned Racism into a frenzy unseen in decades.
Other sparks ignited fires in churches whose messages for men turned from the person of God to the person of Man — Humanism. More and more Americans have slipped into a world where MAN is in total control of everything in HIS life and with total disregard of any responsibility for others. Americanism, Christianity, have no place there. But Fear and Hate are thriving.
Some will say that Fear and Hate have always lived among men. No doubt that is true. But because of historical events that called Men of every race, creed, and religion together for specific causes, Men have always found their way back to the fundamentals that made America the greatest nation in World history. Not so today. Certainly enemies have been and are there, but Men, because of their Hate and Fear that have dissolved into Political Correctness, cannot point out that foe for fear of stepping over the line. There are some that have anyway. Boy have they paid a steep price.
Fear and Hate have fragmented every social, religious, and political institution in America. Just look at Congress, the White House, the Media, churches and denominations. Races have turned against those of other races. Religious people regularly question the ideals of those of other religions. Those from political parties hate other party members. And the Fight of the Sexes is now at a fever pitch. Immorality runs rampant as does crime.
Historically, life in the U.S. has been cyclical: things are really tough for a while, get better for a while, get tough again, and then drastically improve. One can say we are in a “down cycle” right now and to not worry, the “uptick” is just moments away. I fear, however, the cyclical recovery this time will fail because it cannot successfully deal with the Fear and Hate that has rooted itself into the hearts of Americans.
Previous down cycles in America sparked a Civil War, the War of 1812, two World Wars, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, Iraq, 9/11, and ISIS. Each time (until this time) Americans have dropped bias, racism, sexism, fear and hate and have pulled together for a common cause: the defeat of the enemy. That happened in these two movies, too. We won the Revolutionary War and Jesus won that battle — He conquered Death. But Americans always love to revel in the good times — maybe for too long. And in today’s U.S. when something bad happens, we simply bury our heads in the sand and act like it’s not there. But it IS there, whether we confront it or not.
Do we need another World War or a nuclear fight with North Korea or another 9/11 to scare us back onto the right track? I would love to say we do not….but maybe we do. What we certainly need is to lay aside our Me-ism and Humanism and narcissistic attitudes and understand there is a Higher Power, that we can do nothing good of ourselves but for that Higher Power, that the Higher Power is a God that our forefathers sought guidance from, prayed to, thanked for His blessings, and sought to teach others of His ways. Don’t jump on me about a “separation of Church and State.” SCOTUS got that wrong! Factually through hundreds of documents our Founders insisted to make and keep God at the center of our Nation in perpetuity. There was NEVER an attempt to found a national religion — which was one reason for their hasty departure from England. In the Constitution they clearly stated that and promised there would be freedom of religion for all AND no national church.
God is NOT a church building and He does NOT own any. God resides in the hearts of men. If men do not recognize that, we are doomed to a possible permanent down cycle in America. 9/11 worked for a bit. But it didn’t take long for the old Winds of War — Fear and Hate — to jump back up into the drivers seat and start doing what they do again — driving us down the wrong path.
WE CAN STOP THAT……IF we want to.
Jesus said that what we do wrong is NOT our sin — the state of our hearts and minds that allow us to justify those things is our sin. We can CHOOSE to do the right things. We can reject Fear and Hate. We can turn to God to once again and reject the totalitarian ways of Humanism that have taken hold of our Nation.
It will take some Benjamin Martins to commit to simply do the right things. It will take a BUNCH of Benjamin Martins.
Jesus started it all for us.