Listen dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, none of these things - "eating," "drinking," "marrying" and "giving in marriage" - are "bad things." They're not sins - they're the legitimate "responsibilities of life" - but, again, it was precisely these things that prevented the people of Noah's time from responding to God's warning; and it is exactly these things that are hindering Christians today.
God help you if you are letting these kinds of things prevent you from taking action now. The people of Noah's day weren't spared, and I somberly warn you (no! - not I but the Lord) neither will you be spared either. As I said in the New Antipas Papers:
AN EXCUSE FOR INACTION
Still, God's people procrastinate. Take action? - Yes, someday; but not now: That's the all too common answer we get - if not in word, than in deed; and in their failure to act, what these Christians are doing is evincing a kind of thinking toward themselves which suggests, sadly, that they are nothing more than a leaf in a river that is flowing down to the sea; a helpless captive of the stream's relentless current; an object which has no will of its own, and which cannot act in its own right, but can only be acted upon.
Though they probably would never admit it, what they have done is to surrender themselves to a kind of pseudo-spirituality that makes "fatalism" a virtue and "choice" a sin - hence to do nothing is "spiritual" (Christians call it "trusting in the Lord") and "to act" betrays a "rashness" that is not only carnal, but "ungodly" and "untrusting."
But this is pure nonsense! Fatalism is nothing more than AN EXCUSE FOR INACTION, a pathetic reason for Christians to avoid uncomfortable choices and to put off hard decisions which might inconveniently impact the way they live and cause their friends and loved ones to disassociate themselves from them. Fatalism is a dissimulation - a hypocrisy that allows Christians to cheat insofar as their responsibility to God is concerned.
The sobering fact of the matter is, when Christians "buy into" this kind of mindset - purposefully or perhaps unconsciously and willy-nilly - they have submitted themselves to the "PROCESS" of a SLAUGHTERHOUSE, like -
I SOMBERLY WARN YOU
Listen to me here, dear Christians; you need to understand something in all this: this PROCESS that you are calling "fate" and to which you have surrendered yourself and are naively calling "God's will" (but which is really nothing more than your pathetic excuse for inaction) AIMS AT YOUR DESTRUCTION. And it is truly a terrifying PROCESS: without feeling, accountable to no one - at least no one you will ever be able to discover and question. And when it finally takes you captive - and it will eventually if you continue to delay in preparing for it - it will pounce on you just as surely and as suddenly as it pounced on "K" in Franz Kafka's frightening but very "prophetic" novel, Der Prozess ("The Process") - without warning, in the middle of the night when you least expect it.
Commenting on the force and energy of Kafka's famous book, George Steiner writes:
Der Prozess is the terrifying tale of "Joseph K.," a respectable functionary in a bank who is suddenly arrested and must defend his innocence against a charge about which he can get no information. It's a charge which leads him by degrees into a nightmare world of specters, shadows and unseen forces that thrust him down a path past a vast army of anonymous bureaucrats, petty officials, and opaque judicial proceedings - all answerable to an authority which "K" can by no means discern or comprehend - to a bestial death in a gravel pit outside Prague, Czechoslovakia. And all the while he is receiving assurances from those who are pushing him inexorably toward the gravel pit that "everything will work out in the end."
Is that what you think? - that everything will work out for you insofar as the "end of the age" is concerned? If you continue to do nothing, don't be so sure that it will.
Kafka's character "K" was the product - like most of us are today - of a polity and a society encompassed about and directed by unseen forces that had reduced him (i.e., "K") to the menial status of a "cog in a giant, unfeeling socio-economic machine" over which he had no authority nor even the slightest bit of influence. As a result, he was not used to taking matters into his own hands, but instead was used to letting "things take care of themselves," just as we are today. [Please see our article, "Cogs in a Machine."]
And make no mistake about it - the maze in which "K" operated and in which he was ultimately trapped, the mind-numbing routines he was a part of, the pathetic absurdities that he was involved in, and the wretched pretenses in which he participated and which he mistakenly thought lent some measure of importance and meaning to his life are exactly those same mazes, routines, absurdities and pretenses which entrap most of us today - EVEN AS CHRISTIANS: Paying our bills on time and maintaining a good credit rating; keeping a clean and neat house, and a well-mowed lawn; having a good job; presenting a proper personal appearance; having the "right friends;" being a good church member, and so forth and so on.
All these things, it is supposed, will "get us ahead" in the "machine" we serve - and that's what's important, isn't it?
THE ABSURDITY OF IT ALL
Who the heck makes up these rules anyway? - rules that keep us toiling and struggling day in and day out trying to impress people who really don't care that much about us anyway. But that's what cogs do! - they just keep whirring and spinning away; their sole purpose is to keep the "machine" humming along while keeping their mouths shut and their noses clean. After all, it's not the purpose of a cog to inquire about the aims of the machine it serves or to ask where it's going. And it's extremely important to "look good" while we're doing it. "Looking good," and being "pleasant" - that's what it's all about; that and "going along to get along."
So also with Kafka's character "K;" but something went wrong. Kafka writes:
Ah! The routine of "K's" life is broken, and not for good, but for evil - and everyone seemed to know what was happening (even his landlady's cook) except "K." Obviously, an unseen hand was being raised against him - a hand that "K" could neither see nor fathom. Kafka continues:
"K" never sees the person who orders his arrest - standing always just out of sight.
THE OPENING SCENE OF
All that these state functionaries wanted was to do their job, to be paid for it, and to return each night to the comfort and safety of their own homes and the love of their own families. Besides, they were doing nothing more than what "K" would have done if he had been in their place. What's more, they were armed with "official documents" - though "K" was never allowed to see them. Obviously, if there had been a mistake, the smooth functioning of the "Process" would eventually discover it, and the truth would come out. Over and over "K" was assured of that!
But, again, that isn't what happens; and so, Kafka writes -
"... on the evening before K's thirty-first birthday - it was about nine o'clock, the time when a hush falls on the streets - two men came to his house [where he had been held for almost a year under 'house arrest' during which time he had suffered through numerous, mind-numbing and extremely opaque judicial proceedings, the judgments and conclusions of which 'K' was still not certain]. ‘K’ said to himself, 'The only thing for me to do is to continue to keep my intelligence and be calm and analytical ...
"K submitted himself to the guidance of his (new) escorts. In complete harmony ... all three ... made their way across a bridge ... (and) out of the town ... to a small stone quarry, deserted and desolate with a single house close to the edge ... After an exchange of courteous formalities regarding which of them was to take precedence in the next task ... one of them came up to K and removed his (i.e., "K's") coat, his waistcoat, and finally his shirt. K shivered involuntarily, whereupon the man gave him a light, reassuring pat on the back. Then he folded the clothes carefully together, as if they were likely to be used again at some time, although perhaps not immediately.
"Not to leave K standing motionless, exposed to the night breeze, which was rather chilly, he took him by the arm and walked him up and down a little, while his partner investigated the quarry to find a suitable spot. When he had found it he beckoned, and K's companion led him over there. It was a spot near the cliffside where a loose boulder was lying. The two of them laid K gently down on the ground, propped him against the boulder, and settled his head comfortably upon it. With a flicker as of a light going up, the casements of a window [in the nearby house] suddenly flew open; then a human figure emerged from the doorway, faint and insubstantial, walked over to ‘K’ and leaned abruptly far forward and stretched both arms still farther.
"Who was he? A good man? Someone who sympathized? Someone who wanted to help? Was it one person only? Or was it mankind? Was help at hand? Were there arguments in his favor that had been overlooked? Of course there must be ... All would now become plain ... But suddenly the hand of one of the figures was at K's throat, while the other hand thrust a knife deep into his heart and turned twice."
The "Process" was now finished - an absurd process, always opaque (at least insofar as "K" was concerned) and indefinite (that is, up until the final act of butchery and slaughter). It had been staffed by petty bureaucrats and small-minded government minions who were "just following orders" and doing what they were told. They (i.e., these minions and bureaucrats) were not necessarily evil men - at least as we usually understand that word. Most of them were "family men" who just wanted to do what was "right" and get on with their lives - and this blasé nonchalance lent to the PROCESS that finally butchered "K" a certain kind of horror that is hard to duplicate in other less "arranged" systems or societies; A PROCESS THAT HAD BEEN DIRECTED BY UNSEEN FORCES AND SPECTRAL AGENCIES FROM WHICH THERE SEEMED TO BE NO ESCAPE.
"K" had submitted himself to these forces and these agencies partly because he believed that "everything would work out in the end," and partly because he believed he had no choice in the matter - which is precisely what so many Christians are doing today insofar as their own lives are concerned, and the impact the "end of the age" is having on them. Like "K," what they are really doing is blindly and very, very STUPIDLY submitting themselves to a "course of events" that will ultimately culminate in their destruction.
Der Prozess was first published in 1925. It was written in German, and the German Jews should have read it before submitting themselves - kafkaseque-like - to the merciless, cold-blooded "Process" of Hitler's "Final Solution" just as "K" had done with regard to the "Process" that finally consumed him.
Commenting on the book, Steiner - a Jew like Kafka - writes:
"Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a PROPHECY, this hauntingly believable story stands out as one of the great novels of our times. Kafka's unsurpassed nightmare vision rings with chilling truth as it foreshadows the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the mad agendas of ... totalitarian regimes."
Brothers and sisters, listen to me. We are standing as Christians in the middle of a raging river, the current of which is growing in strength minute-by-minute, and hour-by-hour. Five miles down from where we are standing is a great waterfall, and if we lose our footing and are unable to make it to shore, we will surely be swept over the falls to our death. Some of our friends and loved ones have already lost their footing and have been swept away.
The course of this world - a river that leads to death.
What are we to do? We have really only two choices. The first is the easiest - or at least it seems to be: to just "let go" and trust ourselves to the current like a leaf that's fallen into the stream; to surrender ourselves to the current, and like Kafka's character "K" hope for the best. It sounds so spiritual. "Think of the current as God's will for our lives," our friends tell us. "Just abandon yourself to it; that's the thing to do. God will save; He won't let anything happen to you. Just 'go with the flow'." This is certainly what "K" would have done. This is surely the course he would have recommended.
Problem is, on closer examination, this river doesn't look quite like the "River of God" that our friends have been advertising it to be. It doesn't look quite right. There's the faint smell of death to it - and maybe we should ask ourselves about that dim sound of thunder we hear down river (i.e., the waterfall). What if, by surrendering to the powerful current of this river, you find that you have not surrendered to God's will at all, but to something else altogether; and once you give yourself up to its current, you have surrendered all possibility of independent action. You are now nothing more than an object which can no longer act in its own right, but can only be acted upon by others - or in this case, by the current.
This is the end for all those who are caught up in the "course of this world."
Is that what you really want? - to give up your own will? Better be careful before you let go. The current your friends are saying is the "will of God" may not be His will at all. It may be the "COURSE (CURRENT) OF THIS WORLD" that you are feeling -
"Wherein in time past ... [you had your being] according to the COURSE OF THIS WORLD, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience ..." (Eph. 2:2)
"COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Revelation 18:4) [Please see our article, "The Cost of Discipleship."]
The truth is, most of you have already made a decision as to the veracity of the information. Either act on it, or wait around until the force of the river you are standing in sweeps you away. And remember here, by not making a choice, you have made a choice: the force of the current will eventually make the decision for you; BUT REMEMBER KAFKA, and don't be surprised if you end up in a gravel pit by yourself someday, just like "K" hoping till the end that everything is going to work out.
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In connection with item #4 above, we pray that you will remember the Word of God:
"IF WE HAVE SOWN UNTO YOU SPIRITUAL THINGS, IS IT A GREAT THING IF WE SHALL REAP YOUR CARNAL [MATERIAL] THINGS?" [1 Cor. 9:11]
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