(A prophetic vision)
Dorothy was holding her little dog, Toto, in a scene similar to the one found in the field of poppies in the Wizard of Oz. She was looking at a field of poppies with a look of dismay on her face. The poppies surrounded a typical American-style suburb. There was no one in sight as everyone had fallen asleep just like Dorothy had in the movie.
I asked, "What caused them to go to sleep?" I saw four causes: I saw a television with its sound on.... the sound from the television had caused people to go to sleep. Next, I saw a preacher in the pulpit, it was kind of a stereotypical preacher, his words also had lulled people to sleep. I saw a supermarket and saw that people had overeaten and fallen asleep on their couches. I saw a swimming pool, and people in their backyards with motorcycles and sports gear, etc. I thought, "What is wrong with a swimming pool?" I heard a voice say, "People are spiritually asleep because they have pursued 'the American Dream" and have not pursued first the Kingdom of God. "
I believe the television represents the effects of television, and the larger effects of our culture on our spiritual lives. It steals our time, negatively effects our perception, dulls our sensitivities and offers a world view that is often not in line with God's ways.
It was disconcerting to see the preacher as a cause of people's going to sleep. Yet, in our pulpits what is being preached? How much of it is just psycho-babble, or the theology and reasoning's of men, or sweet nothings lacking power and truth? How much is all wrapping, and no content? Even in evangelical churches the very idea of what the atonement means is being re-worked to better suit our modern sensibilities.
And what of our sinful excesses of the flesh? We overeat to cover our emptiness. We try to quiet the still, small voice of God by swallowing enormous portions of french fries and ice cream and cake far in excess of what is necessary or healthful either physically or spiritually?
And what of the very basis of our society? How many of us worship at the alter of "the American Dream?" I don't think God has a problem with us living in a house and enjoying things, including our swimming pools. But if we put pursuing those material things first (and although we say we don't, we do by the way we use our time and resources) there is a problem. On any given summer Sunday are more suburban folk at their children's soccer games or at church? watching football or serving the poor?
The other part of this vision concerns the poppies. We say we are fighting the war on terror, but the largest cash crop in Afghanistan is poppies (opium) harvested for drugs to be sold largely to the suburbs and cities of the western world in the form of heroin. Don't tell me that a lot of that money does not end up in the hands of the very people who are seeking to destroy us. Through illicit drug use we are opening the door to our own destruction and the destruction of our children and bankrolling our enemies while we are at it. Of course if they were the defenders of God that they claim to be they wouldn't be doing this, but that is another story.
In the original Wizard of Oz, The Cowardly Lion says this, "If we leave her here she will die," said the Lion. 'The smell of the flowers is killing us all. I myself can scarcely keep my eyes open, and the dog is asleep already.'
It was true; Toto had fallen down beside his little mistress. But the Scarecrow
and the Tin Woodman, not being made of flesh, were not troubled by the scent of the flowers."
Not made of flesh. Ah, but we are, and the ungodly but alluring smells and influences are killing us. Toto, representing the younger and smaller of us, even our CHILDREN, are already asleep. Jesus tells us, "Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41).
Put some spiritual coffee on and wake up. Turn the tv off and pray with your kids. Live the way you know you should. Honor God. Watch and pray.