The Seductive Drunken Whore


Posted on June 17th, by Ken in Revelation 17:1-8. No Comments

I mentioned before that I pastored and lived for a decade in one of America’s wealthy townships in Tewksbury, NJ. That’s ‘Tewksbury” with your finger lifted up on your wine glass. I recently visited there and had forgotten how beautiful it is. (Yes, there are beautiful places in NJ). We didn’t have gated communities, there were gated homes! Cheap homes were around 1 million, but many were several million. One of our neighbors’ homes was over 8 million. It sat on a hill with a 50-mile view. It looked like a French villa where you would stay on a vacation of a lifetime for just one night because it cost so much. As you can imagine, inside these homes were the finest of furnishings. The garages were filled with BMWs, Mercedes, Porsches, and the like. The estates (you don’t call them ‘yards’ you yutz) were composed of wonderful gardens, patios and decks that appear in magazines, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf-greens, and one guy even had a baseball field as nice as the pros! Some had horses. Not your typical farm horse mind you, but two to three million dollar equestrian horses that competed in the Olympics. One of my parishioners bought an $800,000 airplane because he loved to watch the Pittsburg Pirates play baseball (he had season tickets in box seats). Some people flew to France or Switzerland over a four-day weekend to go skiing with the fam. Are you getting the picture? These people are living the American dream.

All was not well in Camelot. Some people think that pastors are naïve and sheltered, that you can’t say a swear word in front of them. But, on the contrary, most pastors I know deal with the down and dirty stuff of real life every week in ministry. I used to say that “I have heard everything, expect bestiality.” I, now, have even dealt with persons who have had sex with animals. Tewksbury folks, with all their wealth and luxurious living, are no different. As a pastor, I discovered that these people have the same problems as every community – alcoholism, drug-abuse, extra-marital affairs, outrageous debt, family squabbles, etc. They just have more money. One guy in my church suspected that his wife was having an affair. He hired a private detective for $1,000 a day. He got the evidence on camera. Most people with cheating spouses can’t afford that. The point is, same problems, more money. Those without money think the problem is money. But the truth is, money doesn’t solve the fundamental human problems. Take, for example, the guy with the baseball field in his yard, I mean “estate”. When my son, Steve, was playing little league, we played against his son’s team on their field (it was a much nicer field than the township’s baseball field). These were fourth graders playing on a professional field! During the game, as usual, there were some questionable calls by the umpire, who was an 8th grader and the brother of one of our players. We won the game, but then, all humanity broke lose. The guy who owned the field was mad that his son’s team lost on their field and yelled at the 8th grade ump, “You suck!” This made the father of the ump angry. He was the chief of anesthesiology at a nearby hospital. He ran to his son’s defense and an argument ensued in front of home plate, all the kids, and all the fans. It soon came to blows. A fistfight broke out. (side note: I have been a coach and the worst episodes always involve parents). Sad? Yes, sad indeed. Note, however, the wealthy have the same problems, only more money.

How does this connect with our passage today from Revelation 17? The Roman Empire is described as a seductive drunken whore. She seduces the nations with her economic and military power, luxurious living, immoral pleasures, voluptuous materialism, and selfishness. The Roman Empire embodied and personified a way of life that ran contrary to the cruciform and holy life that God’s people should seek. As we shall see, they will be judged for their idolatries and hedonistic life-style. So why do we in America, Christians included, idealize and quest after this kind of life? We are we so enamored by the rich, wealth, power, military might, and celebrities? We will do anything to protect the “American Way of Life.” We chase after these things and the American Dream as if they could solve all our problems. We think that if we had more money that all our troubles would go away. The masses hope to hit the lottery and live lavishly and happily. The question I want to put is this, “Are we being seduced by a drunken whore?”

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