Large corporations are a parentheses in human history. They appear during periods of empire and enable rich men to get richer while they hold out the deceitfulness of riches to young, ambitious men. The US empire is both military and economic. The latter – the economic empire – is the more-powerful force established by the threat of the former -the military empire – which peer empires and 4th Generation forces are discovering is a paper tiger. We haven’t defeated any enemies since 1945. The growth of the FAANGs is probably the last gasp of our economic empire and it’s benefited only a small set of people. It has impoverished the rest of us in ways we’re still discovering. Happily, every epoch in human history has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I re-watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy a couple of weeks ago because my family was gone and I had some free time for once in a decade. I noticed several aspects of Tolkein’s theology and cosmology that I didn’t notice when I saw the movies in the theaters, which was the last time I was excited about going to the movies.
The most striking thing was the response of the powerful men to the catastrophe of Sauron’s rise. Saruman looked through the palantir, saw Sauron, and figured, “I can’t beat him so I’ll join him.” Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. Denethor, Steward of Gondor, looked into the palantir and concluded action was hopeless. At one point, Gandalf complains of Denethor’s response to Sauron’s gathering armies this way, “Long has he seen it, and done nothing!” Denethor sunk into despair and passivity when duty and action were required. Gandalf, when he eventually defeated Saruman, covered-up his palantir realizing it was a powerful thing but of no use to the mission.
The internet is the palantir today. It’s a powerful tool for gathering knowledge and information, but neither necessarily lead to understanding and action. In fact, the internet is more-often generating nihilism, despair, and wickedness. The internet is a technology but behind everything in the visible world is a corresponding thing in the invisible world which is just as real. Like the palantir, it’s not a neutral object to be wielded by good and evil alike. It’s a powerful tool in the hands of the wicked and self-destruction when wielded by the good.
This Fourth of July, it’s obvious to me that the right to life is gone, liberty is dead, and property is hanging by a thread. This century will probably take us deeper into the Dark Age like the 14th century. We need to take a long view of things – an eschatalogical view of things.
Andrew Brunson, the pastor imprisoned in Turkey, told the Southern Baptist Convention that persecution was fast coming to America and we are unprepared for it. This is my view as well. American Christians can’t even be bothered to learn the milk of the Christian faith – the Nicene Creed, 10 Commandments, and Lord’s Prayer. We worship the god of prosperity and wealth (Mammon). We can’t be faithful in small acts of obedience. How much less will we be faithful as persecution worsens? Much of the blame lies with the clergy who have failed to be men of Issachar who understand the times. We have therefore no guidelines from our clergy on how to act in certain situations. Obedience to God will probably require resistance to government in some way as the Rev. Wang Yi has demonstrated in China at great personal cost. Start by praying for faithfulness. As Luther said, one man with God is a majority. God is the Creator of all things visible and invisible. He is all-powerful when he governs all things and is never not governing them. Pray also for Christian unity and fellowship. We shouldn’t be “Bowling Alone” like the rest of the people in this country.