Ted Baccich is a former Active Duty Army Chaplain who holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of New Orleans, and a Master’s of Divinity with a concentration on Public Policy from Regent University. He has served for over 25 years and has multiple deployments to include Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom 1, and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). He and his family reside in the New Orleans, LA. area.
THE WAR IV
As I was out and about one day visiting various troops and personnel in Afghanistan, I found myself looking through an amazing piece of technology known as the “Eye in the Sky.” The Eye in the Sky is a simple balloon with a very high powered camera which is utilized for surveillance. Now the Eye in the Sky can see from great distances, and it can observe all kinds of things. It is Orwellian in a manner of speaking; big brother is indeed watching you. That being said, looking through the eye in the sky was one of the most fascinating experiences I have had in the entire time I have been in Southwest Asia, which now spans roughly 2 years and encompasses 3 major conflicts over the course of the last two plus decades (Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom 1, and Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan).
Upon my first glance though the proverbial eye in the sky, I immediately thought of the classic movie, “1776”, when founding father John Adams cried, “Is anybody there?! Does anybody care?! Does anybody see what I see?!” I couldn’t help but to think, “Who else sees this? Does anybody see what I see? And if they do see it, do they care?” What I saw kept me positively transfixed for the entire time I was inside the command center of the Eye in the Sky. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case it was completely true. In 1995-1996, I participated in a residency course for ministers called CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education). We studied and discussed “the living human document” and for as long as I can remember I have been a people watcher. So I am also a man of faith who finds human behavior fascinating. Thus, I can’t help but wonder about the great sea of humanity, the struggle for survival, and the watchful eye of God.
“Does anybody see what I see? Is anybody there? Does anybody care?” I wondered. What did I see? Nothing that could be described as scintillating or other worldly, but what I saw kept me that kept my undivided attention for the entire time was this: I saw the struggle for survival up close and personal. I saw families and children living in various forms of squalor in a war torn country (if it could really be called a country). Afghanistan is more a compilation of ancient, disjointed villages than it is what we in the west would think of as a traditional “country.” It is mostly a nomadic and tribal society, with different regions of the country having their own tradition (reference Wikipedia). Huts, or houses in much of Afghanistan are traditionally made out of mud, clay and straw. The “rich families” have a series of rooms located around a private rectangular courtyard where women and children work, play and live.
Does anybody see what I see? I saw children playing with sticks because they didn’t have anything else to play with. I saw a mother lay her baby in the sun, outside and alone on her back porch (made of mud and clay) with two other small children (toddlers probably ages 5 and under), and walk about a half mile away, alone, to draw water from a well. She returned about a half hour later with a huge vase like container of water on her head. I saw a mother and two sons with a donkey and a small cart gathering nasty, semi dead desert weeds that they would bundle and eventually burn to heat their huts. I saw another family in a “rich” house that had a walled/ fenced court yard, and small children playing with sticks and wandering seemingly aimlessly among chickens and goats and other animals. Who else sees this? I wondered. What does the Creator think about Afghanistan and her masses? Does anybody see what I see?
At the ripe old age of 94 American elder statesman Bernard Baruch, was asked who he thought, was the greatest personality of our age. He said, “The fellow who does his job every day; the mother who has children and gets up to get them breakfast, keep them clean, and sends them off to school. The fellow who keeps the streets clean … the unknown soldiers – millions of them.” Who then, is really a “hero.” What defines heroism? What is the big deal about people living in mud/ clay houses just existing day to day? Why should anyone find that fascinating?
Perhaps the greatest war mankind wages is the war against fallenness, the very struggle for survival. And we all fight this war to one degree or another. GK Chesterton was right when he observed, “I marvel at the modern’s rejection of the Christian doctrine of fallenness, when it is the only Christian doctrine that is empirically verifiable.” Since the days when Cain killed Abel the ground has yielded thorns and thistles and I watched that fallen world literally from a bird’s eye view. I watched those children; children who are born into squalor and I thought about their future. What would they do with their lives? What would their lives look like 20 years from now? What would become of the boys? What would become of the girls? Would they marry, have children, experience freedom? Would they live in houses of mud and clay like their parents before them? What kind of jobs would they have? How would they ever survive without socialized medicine, food stamps and MTV (sorry, had to throw that in)? What is it about this sight that captures my attention so keenly?
Perhaps because it was a direct look through, if you will forgive the expression, the eye of God. It was a glance at the sea of humanity, the fallen nature of mankind and the struggle for survival. It was like looking at Genesis chapter 3. The most basic, fundamental war mankind fights is the struggle to live and the struggle to live free. We all struggle to have not just physical life, but abundant life – a life lived with freedom and joy. And our fallen world wars against that struggle every day. Are we fighting an uphill battle? Are prosperity, abundant living and freedom just temporary illusions? The battle is indeed uphill and to some it may seem impossible, but freedom has never been an illusion. Every cell, every atom and every particle of human existence cries for it. God gave us freedom and He made us for it; it is His great gift to mankind. It is a significant part of what was lost in the fall. It is ultimately why we are in nations like Afghanistan in the first place, because there are spiritual and physical forces in this world that despise and abhor true freedom.
All human government, for all realistic purposes, takes on one of two possible forms: Eeither Democracy (and one of its many forms) or Tyranny (and one of its many forms). The central issue of the American Revolution is one that has come up time and again in human history and it is this: Is man the free moral agent before God or is man subject to the dominion of human government? The whole Constitutional experiment sprang forth in a Revolution that had a rallying cry of “No King but King Jesus.” A large part of war that mankind has fought since the dawn of time boils down to that simple question: Is man a free moral agent before God and thus entitled to the freedom of godly self government, or not? What does this have to do with the war over fallenness? Fallenness is a doctrine without which, the entire Christian religion and the doctrine of redemption collapses. When Adam fell, he left the whole world in the power of the evil one. And all of creation has been at war (at least spiritually speaking) ever since. Our war is indeed the war against fallenness, the struggle to regain what was lost in Eden. I saw a glimpse of the result of that war, that day, and that is why I was transfixed. Scripture makes it clear that what was lost will not be fully redeemed until the return of the conquering Messiah. Scripture also makes it clear that we are called to be actively engaged in the world around us, fighting that war … fighting the good fight of faith and doing our gut level best to redeem that which can be redeemed.
--Posted by Ted Baccich, 19 July 2012, from an undisclosed location somewhere in Southwest Asia
In 1982, Ronald Reagan said, "Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated." CCA asks the question: Are we losing the test of wills, the battleground for character? <<READ MORE>>
THE WAR II
Ronald Reagan once said, "Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated."What does one think about when one hears the word, “war”? <<READ MORE>>
Recently, over the Christmas holidays, I was driving home happily and listening to the Sean Hannity radio show. Because we were in the heart of the Christmas season and I was listening to an iconic conservative talk show, I expected to hear cogent, logical, and perhaps even inspirational conservative thought. This particular show was being led by a guest host (not Sean Hannity, but presumably a colleague). A caller was speaking to this host about the recent repeal of the Military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Policy (DADT), and the show’s host mocked him by saying, “What’s wrong with Sodomy?” The host went on to dismiss the caller’s concerns as “silly.” <<READ MORE>>
Where were you when the world stopped turning? That is the question of the day. It is also the name of an Alan Jackson song about that terrible day, nine years ago. There are a few events that are so significant and impactful in world history, whereas, when they happen, almost any given person can tell where they were and what they were doing when it happened. The assassination of JFK (if you are old enough to remember), the attempted assassination of
Madelline McCann, Jaycee Lee Duggard, Jessica Lunsford, Natascha Kampusch, Jessyca Mullenberg, Elizabeth Smart – If you are reading this and you do not recognize these names, you need to read further, because these precious children all have something in common. They are, in a way, every man’s/ every woman’s children. These children are the victims of a society that has run amok in touchy feely, perverted, cowardly justice. These children are the victims of a society that coddles criminals, exalts egalitarianism, and increasingly despises moral absolutes. These are the children who are victims of what is today a global horror called abduction and pedophilia. <<READ MORE>>
In 1927, an American socialist named Norman Thomas, who was six times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said that the American people would never vote for socialism, but he said under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program (reference Wikipedia). His observation has proven tragically prophetic. As of this writing, our great nation is on the brink of implementing Socialism by sheer political will. What is government run health care really all about? <<READ MORE>>
We live in a haunted world. Never before in the history of the Republic have so many with so much in their power felt so threatened. The world and its power centers are more tightly coupled than ever before. The future is uncertain and the collective unconscious of America feels it keenly. The economy is erratic and unstable. Pornography streams into our homes like crack cocaine via the internet and cable TV. Homosexuality and its myriad of predatorial perversions are more militant than ever before and it threatens our children directly. The traditional nuclear family is rapidly becoming a relic. <<READ MORE>>
Abortion. The mere mention of the word causes almost instant polarization. It is the quiet holocaust of our time. On January 22, 1973, The US Supreme Court legalized, and in many ways societally legitimized abortion. Stating that a woman may abort her pregnancy for any reason, up until the "point at which the fetus becomes 'viable,'" the “Justices” ignored and usurped the foundations of our Constitution. Volumes could be – and have been – written about the atrocious Roe v. Wade decision. This post asks a simple question: Where is the voice of the American church in legalized abortion? <<READ MORE>>
Please Join Us As We Fight. Take a Stand Today:
1. Call your elected representative and get involved now. Take a few minutes and let them know what you think about the issues you care about today. Let them hear your voice about illegal immigration, government run healthcare and the many other issues that we all currently face. The Capitol Hill switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121, or toll free at 1-877-851-6437. It only takes a few minutes to make a call, and your vote does matter. Remember in the year 2000, that the President of the United States was elected by 537 votes in Florida. The margin of victory was 0.0092%. For every one person who actually calls or writes their elected leaders, there are generally hundreds, if not thousands that he or she is speaking for. Remember to always be polite, respectful and to the point when calling.
2. If you have not already done so, REGISTER, click on link and take advantage
privilege. Stay informed of the issues and carefully consider who and what you are voting for.
3. Get yourself and your family involved in a decent church. There are no perfect churches, but there are decent ones out there. Find one and remember that God requires us to keep holy the Sabbath Day. Church attendance is a benefit and blessing of a free society, and it is a basic human need. Do not take this freedom lightly or one day it may be gone.
4. Support your local candidate or run for office yourself. Want change for the better? Make it happen. Take time to visit your local party headquarters when it matters most – immediately prior to an important election.
5. Watch out for your neighbors, and help them when there in genuine need. Like it or not, we are our brother’s keeper, and that implies moral obligation to those in need.
6. Get involved in worthwhile causes and para-church organizations such as the
Manhattan Declaration and so many others that are fighting for liberty
and the common good of humanity. Getting involved can be a lot easier that it seems and with the internet at your fingertips, one can "get involved" in about 5 minutes. Your voice counts!
7. Speak out whenever an opportunity presents itself. Let your voice be heard; be salt and light. Comment on news stories; write letters to the editor. We are convinced there is a quiet multitude in this country who will not speak because of the fear of ridicule. Speak out boldly anyway; and especially if you know in your heart that you are right, and you might just wind up turning a few heads in the right direction.
8. Live your life like your influence matters. It does. You cannot change the entire world, but you definitely can change your little corner of it.
9. Pray and believe in God. Make a conscious decision to have faith in His eventual triumph over all powers of darkness (both personally and corporately).
10. If you are married, love your mate; stay faithful in word and deed. If single, love your Creator, and seek a mate if you wish. Live a life of integrity.
11. Love your children. Raise them up with godly wisdom and discipline. Keep them from the horrible influences that are now so pervasive in the culture. They truly are the future.
12. Live for God first and foremost. Live for a purpose that is greater than yourself. As Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel always – if necessary use words.” Remember that there are no small rolls in God’s Kingdom. As