Category: Revelation 18:1-8

The Plagues of…USA

19th June

I could make a strong case for why our own US of A easily qualifies as a modern day Babylon. Oppression of the poor, manipulation of world labor and trade markets, human trafficking, and fornication of every flavor exist here just as they did in ancient Rome. I’m not in a position to say who’s worse, but if you have ears to listen it’s not hard to hear how our country is worthy of God’s judgment.

But none of those is what struck me about this passage. What struck me was how Babylon’s luxury was condemned. I had two different conversations today with people who said that the American standard of living is causing us to be isolated from one another. Our demand for luxury and possessions causes us to work more and more, eliminating the time necessary for genuine community. …

Addiction and Babylon, Same Problem–Same Solution

19th June

“Wickedness has turned on itself” as NT says. This is the mantra of addiction.

Anyone who has been addicted to anything started out loving and enjoying the very thing that in the end turned on them and destroyed them. Addiction is the rotting of the soul. Souls stuck in pain, trying to find their way out through pleasure, but ultimately if left untreated, find death and destruction.

This is not unlike the city of Babylon. It has an addiction problem; it loves pleasure and it’s selfishness to death. “She mixes her own poisons, (verse 6) she made herself glorious and lived in luxury.” (verse 7.) Like watching our loved ones self destruct, we don’t want to be a witness to their demise or the demise of this city. However, they both have been warned numerous times, as to the consequences of their …

Playing Politics

19th June

I’ve never been a very political person. I don’t write my congressman or carry picket signs or watch CSPAN. But I vote. I think that’s a really important right to exercise as an American. And even though I don’t always (okay, rarely) like my options, I know that it’s important for us to participate in the process. I think God can use leaders of all sorts (heck, he used Pharoah, so  . . . ) to bring about his purposes with or without their permission, so I try to respect the office of president even if I don’t care for the person sitting in it. But I have to admit, I can get pretty lazy and cynical. Sure, it’s one thing to understand that our political leaders are not our saviors or hopes for the future, but it’s another to kind …

Celebrating Early

19th June

Have you ever celebrated a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion early? How about someone’s funeral? I knew a man who did just that. The funeral was his own. He was old and he knew he would die in the next few years, so he put together his own memorial service. His memorial service was a mix of all his favorite music interspersed with messages of wise counsel and his reflections on life. It took him months to select the right music, write the script, and record it so it could be played at his funeral service. He liked it so much, however, that he decided to invite everyone he knew to come to a special service held in a beautiful chapel in a Roman Catholic Church. He didn’t tell them that it was his funeral service, which delighted him …

Get Out of Town

19th June

When I first moved to Michigan seven years ago, I was flummoxed (yes! Flummoxed!!) by an article in the Detroit Free Press describing ‘urban wilderness.’ The article informed me that some areas of Detroit were so dilapidated and vacant that wild animals were now roaming the city streets. There had been sightings of white-tailed deer, coyotes, and large predatorial cats roaming sections of town from which most people had fled.

At first I thought it was a joke, until I visited Detroit for myself. I couldn’t believe that one of the greatest cities in America had fallen so far, so fast. Within three decades the home of MoTown and the Mecca of the US auto industry had crumbled into something like ruin porn. It was, and still remains, heartbreaking.

Revelation 18 predicts a similar fate for Rome and, as NT Wright cautions, …