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Does anybody...feel the way I do?

I am so...fed up. It's beyond anger, frustration, depression, despair. Is it post-wonderment? I'm so tired of the status quo, of wanting arms around me and needing drugs to calm me, people who think it's "cool" or trendy to be ignorant and just not care and who enjoy laughing at others' suffering, wanting love no one will give in the flesh, fear of abandonment, of stagnant fellowships, the landscape awash in pop-trash and fashion victims, acid rain, of the seeming lack of miracles in postmodern society, sports hooligans, lies about polar bears not being able to swim or carbon dioxide being a poison, disinformation, Swiss banks, and on and on and on.

We are temporally doomed, of course. Did you know, that when Constantine the (Not so) Great won the (Slaughter) of Milvian Bridge in the 312th year of the Anno Domini calendar, he decided to commission the construction of a triumphal arch to commemorate his victory? The only problem was that he could find no artists with the necessary skill to complete the project. He searched throughout the whole Empire but couldn't find a single sculptor who could produce even a modest battle frieze or statue. Not easily deterred, however, Constantine ordered his masons to remove statuary from older arches and affix them to his. The artists of his age were simply not up to the task.

Edward Gibbon, author of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, considered it the turning point of Roman history; the beginning of the decline. And it has been getting worse and worse. From a purely materialistic standpoint, look around.

Look at people. Consider their appearance. Our hair is limp and greasy, our skin is spotty, our flesh pallid and scabby, our noses misshapen. Our chins recede, our foreheads slope, our cheeks run to jowl, and our stomachs to paunch; stoop-shouldered, bent-backed, spindle-legged, we are rumpled, shaggy, and unkempt. Our eyes are weakening, our teeth are crooked, our breath is bad. We are gloomy, depressed, anemic, and wan.

The very air is poisonous. And the food is poisonous too. And the water--that is really poisonous! Everything is mass produced by unscrupulous people in disgusting factories for the sole purpose of enfeebling as many consumers as possible and charging them for the privilege, before turning them over to the pharmaceutical cartel, who really mess, not just with their bodies, but with their heads too!

We trudge, numb and shell-shocked, through bleak, pestilential cities, inhaling noxious gasses, spewed from obsolete factories, clutching wretched plastic bags full of toxic meat and carcinogenic vegetables. The criminally rich amass wealth in tax exempt offshore capital investment accounts, while the rest struggle along stark streets knee-deep in undegradable, windswept plastic and paper carnage to punch the time clock in soul-stifling sweatshops, being routinely abused by brain-dead shop assistants with blue mascara and fish-netted legs, for the wherewithal to buy rancid cheese and beans with our overtaxed, undervalued, hyperinflated currency.

Observe any street in any city; see people shuffling grimly from one hateful upmarket boutique to another, wasting their substance on obnoxious designer labels that do not even fit, and buying cardboard shoes made by slave labor in gulags housed offshore to (attempt to) pacify our guilty conscience. Overwhelmed by market manipulation so secret, so consolidated, so...kleptocratic as to be beyond our control and largely, comprehension, and purchasing wildly complicated appliances made by cheap labor that we neither want nor need with hologrammed plastic from smug junior sales managers in ridiculous ties and tight trousers who spend their weekends in bars sucking down pints of watery beer and leering at adenoidal down-on-their-luck women wearing black leather miniskirts and see-through blouses.

We have no place to call our own, but we have cold beer in cans, inscrutable coffeemakers, chic sweatshirts, nifty shoes, and plated sports cars.

At the local level, any sense of community has been destroyed by ravening corporations and the townsfolks' own blind addiction to a quick-buck economy and voracious consumerism.

But does anyone bloody care? Hell, no! They don't bat an eye, turn a hair, or twitch a solitary sedentary muscle. They sit transfixed before the television, lulled into a false serenity by a stupefying combination of pernicious banality and fluff while nocuous cathode rays make their brain cells useless and actors pretending to be journalists use fancy neuro-linguistic programming to influence our subconscious toward the dark agendas of the intelligence thugs who pay them.

This is the way of the world today: greedy, grim, and ghastly. It is like this most everywhere now, and, the places devoid of people, plants or animals are casualties of the aforementioned.

As soon as your born they make you feel small,
By giving you no time instead of it all,
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,
Till you're so freaking crazy you can't follow their rules,
When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career,
When you can't really function you're so full of fear
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free,
But you're still freaking peasants as far as I can see
There's room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

There was only one person who did not, in some way, live this way. Who never compromised, never gave in, never let it go! His Name was, of course, Jesus. He announced to us that the way in which the world is currently is not the way in which it is supposed to be, nor the way in which it will always be. He was, of course, murdered by collusion between the priests of the old false religions and the ruling class with their military executioners and the dumb mobbish masses. But He, being the actual Creator of the universe itself in disguise, who loved us so much that He came to teach us the Way, suffer, and die so that we could be spiritually reunited with Him as we had, before, been consciously separated from Him as He, being completely good, could have nothing to do with the terrible things we had done to the once wonderful world he gave us, actually resurrected and, after leaving us with some last words and allowing us to have our goodbyes, left but promised us He would return. We were so happy preparing for His return! This Way of His was truly revolutionary. It emphasized unconditional love for others, uncompromising righteousness, and humble surrender to and transformation by His Spirit. But then, something strange happened. See, we were rather unorganized and anarchical, bumbling about the empire, sharing this truth with handfuls of people here and there, dodging the authorities who sought to silence our obvious critique of their ways. But in time, some individuals who fancied themselves to be "strategists", tired of all the stress and hiding, came along and encouraged, wrote, and preached at us that our numbers needed to really grow faster and greater if we were to become organized and powerful. After all, they baited, think of how much more good we could accomplish by using power rather than shying from it? Inexperienced, we fell for it. We went for the emperor himself and it worked. Jesus was proclaimed the official religion of the empire. We smiled at our old naivete, thinking that three thousand in a single day was impressive, but this...now this was really something. There were masses of people who were finally in a position to do real good for humanity and build a truly just society. It was a revolution! We praised God for these "blessings". Meanwhile, the powerful laughed. They had embraced and assimilated Jesus into their culture without having to make hardly any changes at all! We had done all the changing. All it took was a word from Jesus' new "official representatives" and now we had a "HOLY empire". Pretty cool, eh?

But what really happened? Jesus' "representatives", more and more delusional and wayward, graciously took unto themselves every evil the empire had ever represented. They sacrificed all understanding and appreciation of His Way in their zeal to become powerful and make the world "good". We lost our sweet anarchy! Instead of getting together in houses and encouraging, praying for, and crying with each other over generous cups of wine and plates of bread and going out to the streets and offering freedom from spiritual domination, exploitation, bondage, oppression, despair, and alienation while decrying and attempting to rectify the physical manifestations of such, we built cathedrals of bureaucrats. Instead of refusing to fight in pointless, destructive, and murderous wars, we mounted armies bearing the banner of Jesus and in His Name conquering. We lost our holiness in bestowing that title upon our empire and, despite the progress of history and changes in politics, economics, religion, and psychology, we are still suffering from that compromise. If the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church, then the use of power was its deflowering.

Now in the modern world, we are often despised, ridiculed, and held in contempt for our stagnant religiosity and inhuman cruelty of years anon. Indeed in some regions, we are again persecuted and murdered by the very functionally ideological descendants of the very empire we co-opted.

There is no point in bringing accusations of villainy, although some are more responsible then others, as we have "all (exactly) like sheep, gone astray." All we can do is weep or laugh at the ridiculousness of it all (as a cover for our tears).

Jesus said, "I am with you always, to the end of the ages" (Matt. 28:20). As Blumhardt observed, "The Savior's being with us has reference to the end the world, not to its continuance.... Jesus is not with a person who spends his days for the sole purpose of sustaining earthly life. The Lord does not wish to spend too much effort on the continuance of the world. After all, it is corruptible; there nothing left to be done but to await the wearing out of the decaying structure and the creating of a new one."