Thursday, June 11, 2009

Saving Private Whitman

I just finished Martin Gilbert's massive history of World War II, called, surprisingly enough, The Second World War. I read tales of heroism, deceit, and unimaginable evil. And it's the unimaginable evil that sticks with me. On page after page I read variations of "On [date], [number] of Jews were deported from the ghetto in [city_name] to [concentration_camp_name]."

It was, and is, mind-numbing. But when my mind thawed, I felt incredible rage. And when I feel incredible rage, I do what any self-respecting, aging computer nerd in the early 21st century does: I took my Medal of Honor video game down from the shelf and re-enacted the D-Day landing scenario, shooting scores of Nazis with my hair-trigger mouse button. It's bravery from the comfort and privacy of the den. I'll get to the dishes in a minute. Right now, I'm going in.

Nazis are evil people. No, really. They are. And if you doubt that, just turn on the news. They're still at it, still shooting people at places like The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. But there are many evil people in the world, and some of them are not Nazis. Some of them kidnap little kids and sell them as sex slaves. Some of them round up homeless people in Columbus, Ohio and recruit them to hold advertising signs on street corners, and pay them $10 per day for the privilege. And it occurs to me that if my faith means anything, I need to get out of the den. Shooting virtual Nazis doesn't really solve anything. I'm not always sure what it means to engage the suffering of the world, to hit back at evil with a big roundhouse of love, but I suspect I need to take my swings in the real world. I think, above all, that I'm going in.

1 comment:

Chris Slaten said...

Have you read anything about Gary Haugen and the International Justice Mission? My wife read "Terrify No More" and it changed her percpective on a lot of things. Maybe you are being prepared to be one of their superheroes...