Babel Dwellers

Happy 100th Wille!!  We just returned from my step grandmother’s 100th birthday party (my mother’s husband’s mother, named Wille [sounds like Willie]). It was at the local horse track, she’s the bettin’ type. The track had a race in her honor and Em (our daughter) won $37 on it…beginner’s luck, although she did win 2 out of 3 races. Grandma B (Mom’s mother) had her first horse bet ever. She’s almost 88 yrs old–it’s about time she got that one under her belt! Although, she didn’t win…too bad… Rich (my husband) and I came out $12 ahead. Woo hoo! We had a great time!! The Tuveys were great hosts!! After Wille’s race, all of us attendees stepped into the Winner’s Circle where Wille was interviewed, lauded, applauded and pictures were taken. I think I heard there were 137 of us in that picture. I guess she’s also got two more parties this week—good thing she likes to party ;-).

Wille has been around since 1908…think about that for a second…1908. She has seen the genesis of so many things: the automobile, telephone, airplane, TV, computer, Internet, etc. Many more things she has encountered, but the things mentioned above all have something in common. Did you catch it? They all have to do with shrinking our planet. Not physically, obviously, but in making it so we connect quicker and easier (“it’s a small world after all”…Disney knows what their doing, never doubt that [Briana, are you reading this? :~)]). Travel, although we complain about delays at the airport and rush hour, has come along way… Communication is a breeze for sizable chunks of the planet. I’ll bet we could contact anyone on the globe if we really wanted to…

I’m going to be wild and crazy and think out loud for a minute…Could this techno revolution make all the people of the world homogeneous? One people? One language? One race? One group think? To me it kind of sounds like the tower of Babel is acomin’. You know, the story in Genesis 11 where all the people of the world (Noah’s descendents) “had one language and one speech”, were one race, one people, hung together and built a city and tower “whose top will reach to heaven”. Also, they sought to “make a name for themselves”. The way I see it, they were seeking unity, oneness…without God being in the picture. In this brief Bible account, there is no mention of the people honoring God, seeking God or anything-ing God. God is in the story, but He is outside looking in, as no one is inviting Him to the ribbon cutting ceremony. Consequently, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (noted as “Us” in the text) decided to “zap” (not a Biblical term :-) the people with multiple languages so they couldn’t understand each other, couldn’t work together and eventually split up and head in different directions, “abroad over the face of the earth”.

So, a modern day Babel? If you are brave enough, you are invited to step into this idea for a second, join me to see if it works. At the beginning of the story it says that the people were afraid of being “scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” They were afraid of losing unity, so they worked hard to maintain it—by providing a cultural, economical, educational, spiritual center that defined them, that kept them together, at peace: a unity, a peace that had nothing to do with God. A smaller scale modern day analogy that comes to mind is a family unit. Many families will pull out the stops to keep everyone in sync, towing the party line. A strong group think and speech is present and the worldview is subtly or not so subtly passed on to the children, and the adults enforce it—usually it touts preservation of the family’s reputation, status, or values (even rotten values). It may guise itself as Godly living, but actually be centered on maintaining the family’s sense of security and have nothing to do with God…not really…it’s all about the group.

Well, if this small scale example can work among people who stay in close contact, then it seems feasible to me that the same thing, on a global scale, is possible—especially as we connect more and more and share ideas and worldviews…some worldview and “one language and one speech”, is going to win out and take over…that is what I think. I’m not sure I’ll live to see it, but I don’t doubt that my grandkids will.

I see the Tower of Babel story as a historical account (as well as a peek into the psyche of mankind). As one who has a degree in history, I know that history has a tendency to repeat itself, if given the opportunity. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 “There is nothing new under the sun”) Historical events originate from the prevailing worldview of its players, and I think that we may be moving toward something we haven’t seen in 5000 years, since the Tower of Babel—a global worldview void of God. A globe dedicated to self preservation, to making itself a god, seeing itself as a great creator and sustainer of life. God, if touted at all, will be seen as a tool to help us become more powerful, more peaceful, more unified…it’ll be about us, not Him. (do I hear whispers of the anti-Christ here??)

Will God tolerate this? If God is merciful at all, He won’t. Like the Tower of Babel, He’ll allow havoc to wreak so that we may come to see our need for Him…to see we’re aren’t God, we cannot go it alone, we are the created, not the Creator, to bring us to our knees so that He might be invited to come and save us from ourselves.

Some of you may be saying: “Wait a minute!! Peace and unity—why wouldn’t God want that? Isn’t that what God is all about? Oneness and peace?” All I can say is that if He isn’t the center of and source of that peace and unity, then we’re missing the point, we’re missing our Savior, we’re Babel dwellers…


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