Unconditional Expectations and the Path to Darkness  

intierzha 43M
311 posts
7/18/2006 1:48 am

Last Read:
12/25/2006 8:37 pm

Unconditional Expectations and the Path to Darkness

This is kind of a two parter, since events of the past few days are indirectly related to what I have been reading.

I am not surprised, as many of you are not as well, at the recent continuation of vendettas in the Middle East. It smells like the 1980's again, with Iran replacing Jordan or Egypt, and Syria lurking in the shadows as they have for decades. I am not excusing the behavior (nor am I in a position to, since my comments bear about as little weight as a blog does) of the parties involved. Indeed, I understand far to well the issues contained within the struggle. This has made it all the more tragic in my mind. I have heard and read some commentary that this might be the beginning of World War III and a road we cannot escape. So long as Hezbollah and their Syrian masters do not compromise, Israel will annihilate Lebanon. One can sense it in the rhetoric. True, they are willing to back down if certain conditions are to be met. The question remains, will Hezbollah do it? Hard to say, but if Syria does not back down, and the Iranian connection is made clearer, that region will go down a road it from which it may not return. Probably, the whole crisis will abate and the status quo will be restored. And yet, I have been feeling terribly uneasy about this for the past couple of days.

As some of my readers might remember, this is not the first time I have commented on the Middle East. I have two poems from 3 or so years ago that describe the situation all too well... so I thought I would reprint one of them, instead of forcing y'all to click back to that entry.

'No Return'

From stones and swords,
To bombs and tanks
The result is always the same.
Neither side accepting the blame
For the madness they have unleashed
Upon their fragile domains.

By foot and by horse,
and by car and by plane
The message they send remains.
Both sides unable to hear
The voices of their God
Listening instead to the cries of rage.

Because of fear and anger,
Blood and hatred remains.
The result will still be the same,
Neither side giving in until
No one is left alive
To inhabit their fragile domains.

I hope that peace can be restored. But it is such a fragile line between defense of a nation and vendetta. And the sad thing for me has, I have been reading about some of the greatest moments in Middle Eastern history, a book called The Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus. While I am a determined agnostic, some of the translations contained in the book about the early Jesus Movement (later to be called Christianity, but a far cry from our modern dogma) are stirring in their simplicity and beauty. Further, the author, Thomas Cahill, has some superb commentary and insight into the subject. I have been anguished while reading this and then turning on the news, reading the news reports, seeing what has been completely forgotten. Yes, granted the Jews in Israel are not Christians, but the prime tenets of Jesus' teachings were merely a midrash, or commentary, on Jewish law. 'Love One Another' is an expectation hard to realize in our embattled world. So a little indirect irony here, for whatever it is worth.

The interesting thing is that I am a person who understands compromise. And yet I see the possiblity of not compromising in the extreme. What kind of world would this be if we lived up to the radical (both then and now) expectations of Jesus? We have already seen too many times the result of living the other way.

In the end, I can only do what is expected of me and offer my own midrash on what I have seen and read. Of course, I cannot balance the scales, nor would I want to... I simply extend my hand because my hand cannot do otherwise.


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