So, I shall try NOT to deliver a well aimed and well deserved kick in the shins here, but I’m going to confess that I have some powerful disagreements with this man. Just the same, I’m going to temporarily lop off his ears and tail and address a couple of things that I believe are even more important.
He writes, “flying the fear flag,” not a bad post overall, but here’s the deal. First problem, he says, “The question is why are Americans so afraid to die?“
Some are of course, afraid to die. The vast majority however, are actually afraid to live. Most of us don’t really fear death, we fear truly living! Living is where all the risk is, all the pain, all the fear. Perhaps it is because I live in a right to die state where assisted suicide is all the rage, abortion is celebrated, and we just rejoice in the streets when someone chooses to kill off the little boy inside and surgically become female. We actually have zombie parades! Everywhere you look you see evidence of death as celebration, as culture. Years of watching this all play out has convinced me we are really nothing more then a death worshiping cult of perpetual necrophiliacs.
All these things tend to conflict with my powerful connection, to life and life abundant. Eve you know, was named the “mother of all living” and not the mother of all dying. I also know this is true on a personal level. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to keep people I cared about alive, often against their own desires. Dark gallows humor, but when this quarantine happened I was really struck by all the masks and gloves. I mean, just last week people were constantly trying to off themselves, using heroin, meth, copious amounts of alcohol, and suicide. Some people right now are terrified of catching this virus…..while sitting at home trying to drink a 5th of whiskey everyday. Go figure.
So, we’re not afraid of dying, we’re afraid of living. I think this shutdown, all the shuttered business, the ghost towns with empty streets, and people walking around in masks and gloves as if they were the last remnant of a great apocalyptic plague pretty much confirms it. What we are doing to ourselves right now is attempting to choke out all signs of life. When this all began I actually got reported for, “smiling and living life.” I kid you not, that was the complaint. I promised to try to be more somber and respectful during our collective mass funeral.
The second problem is in Wilson’s words about how we all deserve death, “The thing that troubles us deep down is the justice of it……But the venom in the bite is guilt — the fact that we deserve to die.” This is theologically correct, technically truthful, but still all wrong. Did you know your theology can be right, but your heart all wrong? It’s very true. Confusing world, but in faith you can be 100% correct…. and totally wrong. Many of the Pharisees mastered this skill back in the day.
So when you live in a death worshiping cult of necrophiliacs, telling people “you deserve to die” is much like saying, carry on, my wayward son. Proceed as usual. In fact, not only do you deserve to die, but now you’re fully entitled to have at it. See, death is not something we deserve, it’s our entire state of being. We are already dead in our trespasses. We don’t fear the darkness, we fear the Light. We aren’t afraid of God’s wrath, we are terrified of His love.
It is His life and life abundant, life eternal even, that changes everything. It isn’t until we get “woke” that we begin to catch onto to the fact that He made a tremendous investment in us, that we have incredible worth and value to Him. “For God so loved the world…” We were not intended to die. We can say that we “deserve” it, that death is “justice,” or we can say that God was so appalled, concerned, displeased, with our self inflicted state of being, that He gave His only Son to suffer and die in our place.
I actually didn’t really draw close to the Lord until I realized He was the one Rock in my life NOT wishing death upon me. Sad but true and wryly humorous too, but I actually used to run around muttering 50 cent lyrics, because I could so relate to his words. “Wish death upon me Lord I don’t cry no more Don’t look to the sky no more Have mercy on me Have mercy on my soul Somewhere my heart turned cold Have mercy on many men Many, many, many, many men. Wish death upon me…”
“Many, many, many, many men. Wish death upon me. ” Women, too, but that’s a whole other story.
There are a million ways to kill people, to murder their souls if not their bodies. What makes Jesus so unique in the world, so special, is that He sacrificially took our death upon Himself and He gave us His life. We aren’t afraid to die, we’re afraid to pick up His gift of life and life abundant. Life eternal, even. That’s really scary for us because, “to whom much is given much is expected.”
As to death of the body, be of good cheer because we’ve already survived the worst of it and lived to tell the tale. Birth! You tell me that being squished and slammed for 20 hours straight and sent out into a world you’ve never seen before, isn’t scary. Of course it is. A real blessing we often don’t remember the experience.
So we are flying our fear flag. We’re flying the usual “afraid to live flag,” keep everyone at home flag, shut down all commerce flag. It’s not a fear of death at all, it’s a fear of any signs of life, signs of life thriving, abundant, messy, and free.