The Bible mentions in The Revelation that famine will strike the world in the end days, among other things. While this is universally taken as meaning a nutritional famine, it is clear that there is a spiritual famine of equal destructive power, if not greater. Make no mistake; there is no shortage of religion. The problem is, there is very little that is not destructive about what we call our religious institutions. They have become little more than hermetic bubbles of exclusion.
This is not news.
As we slide toward a prolonged time of excruciating trials, we go unarmed. Of course, I am not speaking of everyone, but I am forced to generalize that we are in deep trouble. One needs only look at our young people and their priorities to see what we have wrought. Though it could be argued that it could be said of any generation of the one that follows, I think the state of the entire planet shows that the writing is on the wall. But the knee-jerk response for some is to turn to our “spiritual leaders”, which is a meaningless term.
Today, political parasites disguised as “spiritual leaders” stoke the fires of discontent to their vacant throngs. The admonition of Richard III has become so: “Now is the winter of our discontent…”. The national media aids this completely and, of late, blatantly. After all, the only way to control a large population is by creating conflict among them. So these “spiritual leaders” seek power in this world, having had their collective conscience excised by greed decades ago.
In even worse moments, news anchors turn to religious “scholars” to talk about spiritual matters that are trendy. There’s nothing quite like intellectualizing the spiritual to confer oh so much validity upon it. Again, more two-dimensional people to be spokesmen for multidimensional issues. It’s like interviewing a paramecium to explain music…or a politician to explain himself.
And in politics the religious has become part of the armory. Jesus has become a weapon. I grow tired of so-called morality being injected into governance. Time and time again, in every election, what are called Christian Fundamentalists are looked upon to influence or ordain, if you will, the veracity of a given candidate. When this happens I have to wonder: why would anyone want the support of a point of view that actually anticipates the end of the world? In fact, one of the major factors influencing the Central Intelligence Agency’s blindness to the impending fall of the Soviet Union was that they were saturated with so many Fundamentalist Christians in their power structure, that they couldn’t bring themselves to believe the Soviet Union was falling. It wasn’t “supposed” to happen. It was “supposed” to bring about Armageddon.
I feel safe. Don’t you?
None of this does anything to nurture spirituality. It is impossible for affluence to give rise to the spiritual. Even Jesus said that. I contend that only true suffering and fear can jump start the spiritual famine we find ourselves in, and let me assure you the opportunity for both of those is coming very soon. This may sound negative, but it’s not. Jesus spent three days in hell before he ascended. An alcoholic must hit rock bottom before he has the spiritual awakening that will abate his disease. A dying culture must be brought to the brink – or beyond – to motivate the people to “change the towels”.
To be sure, there are powerful forces that have been at work for decades in an effort to bring about a race war, if not a civil war. In the winter of 2007, Halliburton Corporation was given a government contract to the tune of $400,000,000+ to build concentration camps in the U.S. Ostensibly, these are for the purpose of moving people into “new programs” if necessary. “Coincidentally”, in May of the same year, President Bush signed an executive order giving the president the power to declare martial law without the consent of Congress.
What exactly are we anticipating?
The spiritual famine that is pandemic in our world will inevitably lead to the massive unrest that is being prepared for in the above examples. What began as the simple lack of common courtesy, common sense, and common decency has metastasized into a spiritual cancer that is now spreading to the spinal column of our nation. And it looks like there will be no spiritual CPR, merely religious morphine to numb the pain.
What is the answer? I don’t know, and if I did I wouldn’t give it. This is an individual’s own journey. A nation of sheep will be sheared, without a doubt. What I do know is that whatever answer there is cannot be found in a book, a 12 Step program, a feel-good seminar or a relationship. For some, these things may work for a time. But only a wholesale return to our connectedness we call the spiritual can save what I am sure is the potential demise of society.
An answer? All I can say is do this at all costs, no matter what it takes. Find what is beyond the TV and the Web. Find what is beyond your stupid cell phone and your iPod. Find what is beyond your parties and your kisses.
And find what is beyond your fists.
And tell your “spiritual leaders”, “No, thanks. I can take it from here.”
Andrew T.Durham is a graduate of State University at Albany, with a degree in Psychology/Philosophy. In the late 80's to mid 90's he was instrumental in creating ground-breaking outreach/prevention programs, as well as being a highly successful public speaker. A former acupuncturist and clinician (primarily to inner city adolescents), he has also been a consultant to the Massachusetts State Department of Public Health and several non-profit organizations. He is an accomplished musician - proficient in 7 instruments - ,actor and author of 10 plays, 5 of which have been produced. He is currently a consultant for small non-profit agencies and lives in Rochester, NY