Friday, April 22, 2005

Why History is Important

I recently heard a girl in High School complain that she doesn't like history because it's "in the past." I've heard people say that before, and I think there is something important that she, and others like her, are missing.

The things in the history books aren't just about books. If you understand history, you have a big step towards understanding today. History isn't just about the past; it's about the present as well as the future.

The girl was talking about a report she had to do on Hitler. If you want to see how Hitler impacts our lives today, take a look at the Middle East. The horror of what Hitler did to the Jews gave them the the political pull with the United Nations to establish the nation of Israel, which angered the Islamic nations of the Middle East. The United States has played a major role in establishing and preserving Israel, helping to foster the deep hatred of the U.S. found in the region today. It's difficult to say for sure, but it is likely that if Hitler had never come to power, the Middle East would be a much less chaotic place today, and probably would not be nearly as angry with the U.S.

Just a reminder: "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Elephants and parallels to our society

I was telling my pastor about this story I had seen on the news years ago. It has some very interesting implications.

There are some wildlife preserves in Africa which have been repopulated with wildlife from another preserve. Years later, they began finding several rhinoceros dead, with fairly massive injuries. After some investigation, it was discovered that bull elephants were doing it. However, the experts were confused, because this is not normal behavior.

After trying a few different things, they came to the realization that all of these elephants were essentially "teenagers." There were no older males on these particular preserves. These young males were essentially trying to fill the role of an adult male before they were ready, and they became confused and more violent than normal.

As a result, the solution became apparent: Older bulls were brought in from established preserves, and once that was completed, the killing ended.

Now that you've read my version, here's the story as seen in the news.

I think many of the implications for us and our society are obvious. We have problems with young men becoming violent without any apparent reason. I look around my neighborhood and see a lot of kids without fathers, and very few with adult friends. We may not be elephants, but I believe God intentionally created a commonality in many of His designs, and humans and elephants are both mammals.

My men's group was discussing Ephesians chapter 6, but we stopped at verse 4. Our current meeting time prevents many of us from helping with youth and children's ministries at the same time. We are going to have to decide if we want to adjust our meeting time in order to do our part to help raise kids. We will take two weeks before we make a final decision, so we are going to spend some time praying and thinking about it in the mean-time. We want to do this, but we also want the men's group to be there for men who come needing support from other men.

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I'm a Christian and political moderate (I tend to be more liberal on core issues and more conservative on the hot-button ones). I have a B.A. in Biblical and Religious Studies and Philosophy.