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Our Most Extreme Choice


What a weird world.

The economists are talking about a K recovery from the never-ending Covid economy READ: Worries grow over a K-shaped economic recovery that favors the wealthy. This means that those who are already well off or at least doing okay will do more okay. This is the upper arm of the K. Those who have lost jobs already, no matter how well paying the job was, are represented in the lower arm of the K.

In North America this means that the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider. Because we are an economically driven culture, this means the gap gets wider in areas of understanding and connections as well. The rich already don’t understand the plight of the poor and the poor distrust and at times resent the rich. This is not going to help.

Politically, we are moving more and more to the extremes. Left wing anger is destroying conservative lives and values. Right wing thinkers have dug their heels pointing at the violence and immorality of the left. There is little talk of being one country or one people.

Many wars and conflicts have been fought on the basis of religion. More have been fought on the basis of economics using religion as a rallying point for both sides. A classic example is the trouble in Northern Ireland. For years, the Catholics and the Protestants have fought each other. The reality is that the majority of residents are poor Catholics being governed by rich Protestants who control the economy and the jobs. It is a conflict over economics. Both sides have pushed the other to extremes. Thankfully, there is less violence and more talking these days.

There are other areas of extremism. The contrast between life and death continues during whatever circumstances the world offers. I have a friend who is denied refugee status in Canada and is going to be deported. He is a Christian man who will be killed and possibly tortured in his home country because he is not a Muslim. This is a life and death situation.  

God has the real power of life and death and yet in this case a bureaucrat ruled that he had to go back. I wonder if this is partly because of the anti-Christian government we currently have. If he had not converted to Christianity and remained a Muslim, perhaps they would have granted his application. I honestly don’t know.

This is not an isolated case. Many people face life and death realities. Many people also experience different lives on a daily basis.

I live in a pretty tough area. People are beaten and assaulted frequently and there is high drug use, addictions, and prostitution. It is a good-sized area with about 9,500 people in the neighborhood. Houses tend to be in disrepair, alleys are lined and littered with garbage and discarded appliances and furniture. Yet just a few blocks to the west, there are beautiful houses, clean alleys, no needles scattered about, and a rare police or ambulance presence. The contrast is stark and real.

People on both sides of this extreme stick to their own sides of the fence. North Central is not for everybody and I understand the fear a newcomer would feel. I also understand the discomfort and distrust my neighbors feel in more affluent areas of the city.

Extremes are everywhere in our world and some are exaggerated and exploited for political and economic gain. Caught in the middle are regular folks. People born into poverty and people born into wealth. Some are born in Canada and others born in Africa. These are not life choices but God’s will. He decides where and when we are to be born.

But the biggest extreme is between God and the devil. God has all the power and love and light while the devil deceives many into following his lost cause. Sometimes it looks like he wins, like when my friend gets denied his refugee claim.  But the real extreme is what happens when you die.

In the end there is one question and only one question that matters. Do you follow Jesus? My friend said yes. Whatever happens, he will be in paradise when he dies. The other extreme is to say no and spend eternity in a hell so horrible it is beyond our imagination.

These are deep extremes to be sure. And the choice is yours. Choose wisely.

___________________________

Andy Becker is a retired counsellor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. Andy and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministry in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest areas. He is a retired counselor, speaker, and writer. Andy Becker is working on his second book about spiritual warfare. His first book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

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