No Red Button


Mad Max Movie Trailer

In 1977 an unknown and young Mel Gibson portrayed a futuristic cop bent on revenge against lawless road gang members that killed his wife. In this gritty and often unbelievable post-apocalyptic film a dark picture of the future is presented to viewers. You know, I’m not so sure that the film wasn’t prophetic.

Like many of you, I grew up with the threat that our nation’s chief enemy, Russia, could press a red button in Moscow and send nuclear bombs to America to destroy us. I’m not sure I knew all the detals. After all, this was a pre-Internet world and information came from either evening news or newspapers or exaggerated word-of-mouth. I remember when THE DAY AFTER was on television (1983) … a portrayal of the effects of a thermo-nuclear bomb on a small town in Kansas. There were warnings about the graphic and intense nature of the film. It won 12 Emmys and stirred the anti-nuclear debate to new heights.

At least during the cold war we all knew where the bombs were and who we had to placate in order to keep them where they were. Nowadays, madmen like Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il either already have or may soon have developed nuclear weaponry. There is no diplomatic reason in their view to abstain from its use. It is possible that nuclear attack via a dirty bomb or other such delivery remains a modern possibility … probability.

But without a red button being pushed or a madman setting the world on fire, I think we have arrived in Max’s post-apocalyptic world. I know that our country is not a junkyard of destroyed property being run by vigilantes. However, in our highly secularized society America has lost all moral direction and values that provide the basis for judgment.

In the third film to feature Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome presents a court where the judge is played by Tina Turner in a chain metal outfit with big ram horn hairdo deciding Max’s fate by the spin of a wheel.

I’m not sure how hard I have to try to make my case. Civility is a stranger to our culture. The entertainment industry has no intention of self-control. Senseless violence fills not only our movie screens but our streets. The gang culture has great influence with young people. Pornography of all extremes is available to young children with the touch of a keyboard. Our nation’s lawmakers and elected officials are largely morally void. Ecologically we are as wasteful as ever. Political correctness has expanded our vocabulary and created a glut of wordage so that everyone can make sure that no one is singled out or offended by a mention. The poor, hungry, jobless and homeless in America are ignored unless there is some political gain to be had. Seriously ill people cannot get the health insurance they need, while others abuse the system and syphoon it of any effectiveness. Millions are in our country without I.D., creating a large homeland security issue while politicians argue about how to deal with the problem. Substance abuse is robbing families and individuals of their peace of mind.

I’m not trying to depress you with this view, but I am trying to envision Christianity in a post-apocalyptic world. God sent Jesus into this world precisely because of darkness such as this. Genesis 6 tells us that the world at that time was so wicked that everyone’s thoughts were evil all the time. We cannot be far from this. I’m not banging the drum of the millennium … I’m asking the church a question. Where is the light? Where are the Christ-followers who are engaging this darkness confident that the victory belongs to Jesus?  What is to be our response?

Wherever you find yourself, let your light shine brightly. It is the only hope of this fallen world. The rise of secularism has led to a view that is cynical of all things religious. Unfortunately for the world, when God is taken out of the picture there remains no moral value upon which to rest our lives. We become a law unto ourselves. I do not think we will win this war in the media. We will love and influence the world one person at a time. But we do have to start with the one person. The Enemy is doing his work relentlessly. Shouldn’t we be working just as hard to beam the light of God’s grace to those around us?

 What do you think?

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