Living in Occupied Territory

Living As Apprentices

I am a political junkie.  Therefore I spend a lot of time reading about and listening to political issues, much to the amazement of most of my friends. But spending my intellect on the state of  national, and world affairs often brings me  to a dark place.

Last night I listened to BBC World Services for an hour and heard the latest details about the vicious war between Christians and Muslims in the Central Africa Republic, the heartbreaking life of  CAR and Syrian refugees, the scandal behind the gridlock on the George Washington Bridge, the childish diplomacy scuffle between the US and India over an Indian envoy’s employment of domestic help, and the fall 0f Fallujah in Iraq -where American troops fought, bled and died – to al-Qaida militants.

But last night I didn’t go to the dark place! I remembered C. S. Lewis’s explanation of the battle between Good and Evil in our world. Describing our options, he reminds us that Christians do not believe in dualism, the theory that the powers of good and evil are independent and equal.  He says,

“Christianity believes that this universe is at war.  But it does not think this is a war between independent powers.  It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.  Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage” ( 1960 paperback edition, p. 50-51).

We believe that God created a being who chose to rebel.  He had free will and he used it to try to wrest control from God.  (We should understand that; we all do the same thing)  But, Lewis says, “When the author walks on the stage, the play is over.  God is going to invade . . . and this time it will be God without disguise,something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror in every creature (p. 66).”

To me, understanding that we live in enemy-occupied territory makes total sense and stops my constant question: “How can people do this to each other?!!!”  It also encourages me to keep the radio on.  In a civil war, ignorance is not bliss, it is denial and death.  So from now on when people say, “I don’t listen to the news anymore,” I’ll have to say, “That is not a position that an apprentice of Jesus can take.”  We have been charged to sabotage the work of the Dark Power.  We need to find our own battlefield and our own weapons – not pretend we have not been drafted.

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4 Responses to Living in Occupied Territory

  1. Carol McGeehan says:

    Thanks Karen for this powerful reminder that Christians need to know and care about events in the world,and more than that, to do what we can to oppose injustice and work for human rights

  2. The Simple Italians says:

    Lewis was one who could speak of such things. He lived in war time, and that makes his words that much more relevant, doesn’t it?

    • Yes, and as you probably know, he wrote this material for his BBC broadcasts during the war and published it as Mere Christianity after the war.

      • The Simple Italians says:

        Yes, I did know that. I guess you could say that he wrote it in almost doubly-occupied territory, because Britain was all but occupied by the axis powers during that time! Makes Mere Christianity extra strong, doesn’t it?!

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