The most important aspect of life that we need to come to grips with is that there is a God, and we need to make every effort to convince ourselves that this is the ultimate truth.
I am not a church leader, but I have travelled around this country and as well to many foreign countries during the time period 1964 to 2006. During these travels I have spoken with all kinds of people on trains, planes, and other travel conveyances. This even included in an old taxi over mountain roads outside Cali, Colombia, while being careful we did not cross guerilla territories.
The one thing I learned was that no matter where I went or who I spoke with, many conversations would turn to God. I remember when I was home from college on thanksgiving holiday, I had an occasion to speak with a Russian couple who worked as managers for a veterinarian clinic in my hometown. They had escaped from Russia as teenagers just before the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Their parents had been imprisoned by the Bolsheviks for being supporters of the Czarist Regime. And their escape was facilitated by missionaries from Poland, who helped them get to Netherlands and ultimately to a ship going to North America. At the time in 1961 I was studying Russian in college, so I was excited to be able to learn more about Russia and the Russian language. Though we met a few times to speak Russian, and I had told them I was not a communist, the last time I went to their house another person came to the door and told me they could not meet with me anymore. This person gave me a cross which he said was from them and they wanted me to have it as a memento. I later learned that they were concerned that I might be an agent of the Russian government who was actually planning to get their confidence and kidnap them and return them to Russia. This apparently used to happen as I later learned from people who knew them that this had actually happened to several of their friends who simply disappeared and were never heard from again.
On another occasion when I was in Honduras during a trip to one of my customers plants in a coastal town called LaCeiba in 1975. I remember on a jeep trip to one of the banana plantations some distance from the port, we were stopped by young men with machine guns. My driver who knew them told them that I was a representative of the manufacturer of the packaging materials used in packaging the bananas and was just there to inspect the materials which had been failing in shipment. We were both told to lie down on the ground while the guerillas searched our clothing and emptied our pockets. They finally let us go, less the money in our pockets, and we continued to the plantation and as well a return trip to the coastal offices.
And as I later learned we had been fortunate as I was later told that holding Americans for ransom was not a rare occurrence in this area.
One more situation, in 2003 in Poland when visiting with a representative of a distributor of packaging materials who was selling our products to a new distributor in the Ukraine. This new distributor in the Ukraine, had just been purchased by the distributor in Poland which was a branch of a large packaging business in the UK. During our conversations, the local representative revealed that the Ukrainian company had requested a payment of $1,000 from the manufacturer, that would be me, for the right/privilege of doing business in the Ukraine. We deferred this request on the premise that we had to present this request to corporate in the US before we could agree to this requirement. Ultimately the request was denied and in addition the Polish distributor decided to sell this Ukrainian operation given the constant needs to pay excess regulatory fees associated with doing business in the Ukraine.
These stories are representative of doing business in many non-democratic countries around the world which are still controlled by illiberal entities which have no respect for the dignity of humankind.
From ancient times up to and including the inception of Marxism, Historical Materialism and as well the excesses of capitalism in the mid-19th century, governmental processes which included slavery, monarchism, and dictatorship were commonplace.
And even though Christianity had been introduced by Jesus Christ, marking the beginning of a new era, called the Christian Era (CE), this did not end the excesses of governmental administration, and/or what is called the controlling of people’s excesses.
But the true designation of where the essence of the problem resides will not be resolved until humankind refuses to be the scapegoat for illiberal political entities. And along the way we should pray that we all discover the essence of the problem which is that the truth about God rests with us.
So, humanity would still have to live through the Crusades, the Reformation, the Thirty Years Wars, the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution; and the several wars of the 20th century.
And now with the reality of the 21st century under way, we still have to struggle with whether we want to continue our obsession with the death struggle of continued good versus evil being played out on the battlefield; or whether we can all admit that God is in control and let Him resolve it.
Next time we will discuss a solution and how we can move forward with God in control.