Monday, October 1, 2007

Buddhist Monks in Burma

As we have seen in the news, people are rising up against the oppressive regime in Burma. Buddhist monks have been leading the peaceful demonstrations against the government. As with most oppressive regimes, the government is brutally putting down these protests. However, once the people are aroused, it is only a matter of time before the government falls. We saw it in Eastern Europe where the repressive communist regimes fell like dominoes. In the cases of East Germany and Romania, the movements stated in churches.

The reason I mention these is because I believe as people of God (whatever your formal religion), we have a duty and responsibility to struggle against oppression and injustice wherever we find them. We do this in whatever way we can, as the Lord leads. Some demonstrate in the streets, some write their congressmen, some write blogs or give sermons to inform and motivate others, some pray diligently. I don’t believe in civil disobedience except in extremely rare cases, and I don’t believe in violent protests. I’m amazed at how antiwar demonstrations can become violent and chaotic. So much for peace and harmony.

At least for Christians, I don’t think we should put these struggles ahead of our relationship with God, no matter how worthwhile the cause. God must come first, and out of that relationship comes God’s guidance and empowerment to do his will. Sometimes God’s will is for us to become actively engaged in such struggles. Other times it may be to do other tasks, but at least we can still write our representatives and pray even if we aren’t called by God to a more active role.

The reason I mention our relationship with God coming first is that I suspect some activists use the Church as the platform for their causes. The Cause is paramount, and God is secondary. That, in my opinion, is the wrong way around. God must be primary, and out of that relationship comes God’s guidance for whatever task God is calling us to.

Please pray for the oppressed peoples of this world, for there are many. Burma, Darfur, and Zimbabwe are three that come to mind, but there are many others. Pray also for discernment from the Lord as to what God wants you to do.

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