Walter Schelauske commanded a German Anti-Aircraft battery during the first German offensive into Russia. He lost a lung outside Leningrad in 1943 and for the remainder of the war, commanded German Army basic training units. I met him in the 1980s in Wertheim, Germany, and spent a wonderful afternoon with him during my own command of an 8 inch firing battery. We both shared great passion for teaching, leading, and mentoring young men in the profession of arms.
My conversations with Walter took us deep into the considerations of what happens in a nation filled with young men raised without fathers. Walter’s generation of Germans watched their fathers march off to World War I battlefields and not come back. Walter’s own children had a dad who survived but most of their German friends born in World War II, or that were too young to serve, received a death notice in place of a father. That is back to back, two generations of Germans raised without fathers.
In the first half of the 20th Century, Germany acted out on the world stage the classic paradigm of Isaiah Chapters 3 and 4. In this passage, Isaiah lists a combination of tyrannical leaders who act like children, self-induced economic famine, and the loss of the Judge, the Captain of a 1,000, and the demise of wise rulers in foolishness foreign wars. These were the result of a nation stepping away from the creator of earth and heaven.
More importantly, these losses in Isaiah’s day reinforced the establishment of a collective that replaced the family. Germany walked this entire path from Kaiser to Fuhrer; storming arrogantly to defeat across World Wars I and II. Translating a section of Walter’s life story one afternoon, I found Isaiah 3 and 4 residing between the lines of his manuscript. Walter detailed high taxes, Social Engineering of the Nazis, redistribution of power and wealth to the halls of the tyrants, and childish, unwise leaders.
We have childish tyrants ruling our land from the White House. Not leading, but ruling. There is a difference. One involves wisdom and wise council. The other accepts foolishness that embraces weakness. It is your choice, voting citizen, to decide which is which.
In the President’s love affair with our enemies in the Middle East, my guess is that the President’s underlying weaknesses lead him to dialogs that makes it appear like he is having intimate conversation with our fiercest enemies. In turn, that weakness is pointing our nation toward foolish future wars with the potential of consuming our young men and women. Just like Germany; Just like Israel in Isaiah 3 and 4.
Between irresponsible fatherlessness and the potential loss of American manhood in execution of foolish wars, Hillary Clinton’s “Village” might become the fathers and parents of an entire generation. This is important. Like Hitler’s top propagandist, Leni Riefenstahl, and the Nazi party of the 1930s, the Feds could become the substitute father who grants manhood to an entire generation of Boys.
That said, where is the Church in the task of winning hearts and minds to the Gospel in an increasingly hostile culture? My answer is that mega congregation “Churchianity” with boards, massive mortgages that tie them to business institutions, and “Simple” church strategies for keeping or removing ministries will be part of the problem…not a solution or alternative. The standard American Church is too deeply entrenched in “mega-churchianity” with its nose shoved up the fourth point of contact of Laodicea.
Across history, the usual impact of rising tyranny and loss of morality is disintegration of the local societal fabric. The family fades into the collective because families lose their economic power through taxation, and lose their moral power as immoral behavior is popularized. Up becomes down. Across history, collectives devour themselves as they consume their own wealth without protecting and creating the means of generating more wealth. This in turn destroys their ability to project power within their own borders. We are almost there.
The only question in my mind, as the United States lives out Isaiah 3 and 4, is “when is the next war?” You see, an interesting benefit to the collective of massive wartime casualties is the removal of the one element capable of resisting the collective – soldiers willing to serve their nation. In Isaiah 3 and 4 comparisons, we should see that the childish monster, Hitler, had his tyrannical way because German Men were too busy dying in his foolish wars to resist the collective.
This brings me back to the church. For eight years, my family and I attended a Mega-Church, did ministry, and led small groups. Then and now, we love the Gospel in our lives. The problem in the mega-church was Laodicea behind every door. It sat on the Elder board and formed the Mega-Church into a mini collective. Over time, our Mega-Church sort of raised children, provided social development, and intruded, like a benevolent dictator, into the very fabric of proclaiming the Gospel – as opposed to protecting the liberty of proclaiming the Gospel.
Our solution was to leave the Mega-Church and join an insurgent revolution of Christ followers. In other words, we became an insurgency that left Laodicea. Hopefully, our nation has a similar insurgency in the voting booths in 2016. The alternative will otherwise be as harsh as what Germany endured because like the German Lutheran Church in the 1930s, American Mega-Churches will not resist.