On Retreats and Waiting for the Next Explosion

Well, another marriage retreat is under my belt. The weather was beautiful, there were a few trees trying to show some fall colors and the fellowship was fun.

As I sat through the sessions, it occurred to me at one point that under Sharia law, none of this would be happening. The men and women couldn’t be in the same rooms, the women couldn’t talk to their friend’s husbands, we’d have to eat apart as well. We couldn’t play the hilarious Newlywed game, and heaven forbid, talk about married sex! No jokes, no card games, no Bibles, no books. We would have had to meet in secret since we’re Christian and our small Sunday worship service would be illegal.

I tucked my little thoughts away, because after all, I was on retreat to rest and recharge and put the world on the back-burner for a couple of days.

Then Fausta posted a link to an excellent article over at City Journal by André Glucksmann. It all barreled back to me like that scene in “Somewhere in Time” when Christopher Reeve saw the penny. Outstanding – as they say, read the whole thing. Just a teeny tid-bit:

A better definition of terrorism is a deliberate attack by armed men on unarmed civilians. Terrorism is aggression against civilians as civilians, inevitably taken by surprise and defenseless. Whether the hostage-takers and killers of innocents are in uniform or not, or what kind of weapons they use—whether bombs or blades—does not change anything; neither does the fact that they may appeal to sublime ideals. The only thing that counts is the intention to wipe out random victims. The systematic resort to the car bomb, to suicide attacks, randomly killing as many passersby as possible, defines a specific style of engagement. When, after Saddam Hussein’s fall, terrorist attacks multiplied in Iraq, they spared no one, especially not Iraqis: schoolchildren in buses or on sidewalks, men and women at the market, the faithful at prayer.

He takes a view of violence, in particular, terroristic violence, through a very long lens and shows not only how war has changed humanity but how humanity changed the rules of engagement. No longer are there expectations on a soldier’s behavior, because now we don’t fight soldiers, we fight blood-thirsty self-appointed warriors in an endless loop of hatred. Like black holes in space, they suck up everything around them in their all-consuming nihilism.

Once Marcia Davenport lamented all the world had lost after the great wars. Beauty, innocence, majesty. Now those of us in America lament the loss of even more and wait for the next explosion.

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