The City: A Short Story

The other night I got a picture in my head of a man, staring at a shining city in disgust.

There it stood, gleaming in its wickedness and immorality. That unholy city had a kind of sick beauty to it; aglow, day and night with its vile promiscuity.

Of course it was gold – gilded with the sins of those who lived there. They talked a good game about “love, love, love,” but holiness? No. Righteousness? No.

Out here in the twilight, I leaned on my shovel and stared at the ungodly abomination.

Inside, it was called by another name, but I preferred the name the Bible gave it: Babylon.

The kings would be coming soon. Bringing tribute, no doubt. Tribute and trading goods.

For almost as long as I had lived here, in the shadow of the city that never goes dark, I had lived with righteous anger against it.

I scarcely remember a time when I have not been waiting for God’s righteous judgment on that foul city.

Maybe it was the beginning of the first day I found myself here. I thought it was heaven. I thought I had finally made it. A city filled with brilliant light. They welcomed me in, gave me a place to stay. They told me how glad they were that I had come.

Continue reading “The City: A Short Story”

Has Hell Bent Your Moral Compass?

I’ve been following the stories about ICE lately, separating parents from children, and recently in the city where I live, an unarmed Black teenager was shot by a police officer.

There have been the usual displays of awfulness from Christians trying to put the teenager on trial after the fact, and of course the general remarks that “If they didn’t want to be separated from their children, they shouldn’t have crossed the border illegally.”

Pause for a minute.

Since when was failure to follow instructions from a police officer a capital crime, punishable by death?

Since when was having your children ripped from your arms a reasonable consequence for crossing a national border illegally?

As I thought about this, it occurred to me that these defenses sounded familiar. They were essentially,

You didn’t obey, therefore you deserve whatever punishment you get.

I think this idea comes straight from hell.

Literally. For two reasons:

  1. Getting used to hell has made us comfortable with draconian punishments, like eternal torment for finite sins.
  2. Defending the doctrine has trained us to justify draconian punishments as appropriate.

Following are a few examples of ways people try to defend hell, and their parallels as defenses of the US’s evil actions against people who are either caught here illegally or caught trying to enter illegally.

“They chose it.”

This is popular. Hell isn’t so bad, and also the people who are there, are there because they didn’t want to be with God.

In the same way, being separated from your kids isn’t so bad – after all, we do it to other kinds of criminals (as if this was a defense!), and the people who are there, are there because they tried to cross the border illegally. Continue reading “Has Hell Bent Your Moral Compass?”