KONY 2012 (Part 1): Hope for America

My outlook on this country has turned very negative in the past few years.  Part of my pessimism stems from a greater awareness of the political climate, given my college education and current position as a civics teacher.  I also gripe because I am on the receiving end of any actions taken or decisions made by the state and federal governments.  Either way, an earnest conversation with me would quickly reveal that I have pride in Western civilization and the United States’ heritage, much disappointment in the United States as it stands (however feebly) today.

It is not surprising, then, that I often ponder questions like, “When was the golden age of the United States?”  “When exactly did we start to decline or what event/series of events prompted that?”  And most controversial of all: “How or when will the United States fall from its position as a world power?”  My sensational thinking always leads to imminent destruction, within the next 10 or 20 years to put a figure on it.  Fortunately, 2012 is not that year. There is hope for America as delivered by KONY 2012.

To understand the rise and fall of civilizations, the prosperity and captivity of a specific people group, one may invest a lot of time studying abstract histories or he may appeal first and foremost to the examples in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, the ancient Israelites went through two cycles of captivity and deliverance – first, in Egypt, then under the slavery of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires.  I am currently studying the latter of the two episodes through a course on the 8th century (B.C.) prophets and it sheds a lot of light on the matter.

God is involved in the life of His people; that includes all of mankind but in a time before Christ He would have shown a particular interest in the Israelites.  He made a legal contract with them, or a covenant, and both sides were expected to abide by the terms.  If Israel obeyed, they were richly blessed.  If Israel violated the terms, they were punished.  Sometimes God would express His wrath with direct intervention while other times He would submit the Israelites to the surrounding political climate.  The Assyrians and the Babylonians naturally fit into this picture.

So how did God determine when they were no longer fit to rule themselves?  He could have arranged this much earlier than He did but that’s not the point in this post.  I am discovering (and finally internalizing) how concerned God is with human affairs and how much He desires that justice is carried out.  When people hurt, God hurts for them.  This is precisely the condition of Israel in the 8th century B.C.  The nation was wealthy and prospering, but only on the plight of its own people.  The rulers, the judges, and the wealthy land owners had found ways to exploit the agricultural community through illegal and immoral means.  They violated the contract again and again, taking advantage of a powerless and now impoverished people group.  The rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer, all the result of an initial contract that had been violated gradually over time.  When He could not bear the injustice any longer, God turned Israel over to its surrounding enemies.  Their time had come.

Moral of the story: we reap what we sow.  And the comparisons I am finding between an ancient civilization and the history of the United States are startling. But our time has not come; there is hope.  While politicians overstep their jurisdiction, judges take advantage of their power, and the so-called 1% get wealthier at the expense of their communities, I find that Americans are not as bad as they’re portrayed.  The release of KONY 2012 reveals a calculated attempt to bring about justice – not to ourselves but to another people in a remote part of this world.  It is a call that millions are rallying around, from the humble worker to the exalted celebrities and all groups in between.  Somehow, in the midst of economic and political turmoil, this country has found a way to rise above our own problems and consider the dire needs of others.  I am not saying that this one video or this one movement will acquit the United States from judgment, but what I am saying is that KONY 2012 is symbolic of a people that can still be redeemed.  It represents millions of hearts that have been activated for a cause greater than themselves and a concern for those who can’t help themselves. Surely, this must be a pleasing response to God.


KONY 2012: Hope for America and Danger for the Future

If you don’t live under a rock, you will know that this was a big week for Jason Russell and his non-profit organization Invisible Children.  They released the mini-movie entitled KONY 2012 and within 48 hours it went viral across the web.  How do I know that this is a big deal?  Because I don’t even have a facebook account and I heard so much buzz on or off the internet that it made me wonder what was capturing everyone’s attention.

The video sparks many reactions and I, like millions of others, was moved.  In response, I am posting a two-part series to identify the promise and the scare behind this movement.  By design, The Workshop of Worship is about “reclaiming the carefree spirit of a childlike faith,” but the reality of our fallen world is that few things are truly “carefree.”  And so I write about ideas more than anything, whether in an attitude of wonder and reverence or an academic mindset.  These next few posts are no exception.  By the time I can actually get my thoughts written down and published it may be old news.  A busy life might interfere with my aspirations of writing and the hype may have passed, but that is also a portion of the message behind part two so stick with me!

In the meantime, if you have not seen the video yet, allow me to follow my orders and repost it.  You may see the full video below or visit http://www2.invisiblechildren.com/videos.