I just emptied my email’s spam folder. I always look at what is in there before I delete anything to make sure I’m not missing someone/something important. Today it held nothing special, just the same old junk: get rich quick schemes, security breach scams, access to wonder drugs and illicit sex invites. The emails vary in content and style, yet they all carry a dull heaviness with them. They are gray in a world of color; they promise a buzz yet, if given a chance, guarantee sickness of the soul. Those who venture in, find a snare.
Earlier today I watched a TED video, Misha Glenny investigates global crime networks (if you’ve got about 20 minutes, it is fascinating and shocking, and a bit depressing).
While listening to this British gent disclose his fascinating findings, I was hit between the eyes with something he said. Here it is: “It is this Western desire to consume that is the primary driver of international organized crime.”
To give context: developing countries tend to be the producers of illicit goods and services and developed countries (i.e. European Union, USA and Japan) tend to be the consumers. Other countries are distributors/traffickers, the middle men (if you will).
So, the age-old commerce pattern even exists in the mafia: the poor produce, the middling sorts transport and the wealthy consume. Consumers pay, which funds production and transportation. On a global scale organized crime operates just like legal trade, only on a covert level (of course).
But, back to illegal (mafia) and questionable (i.e. certain spam emails) activities. What is the draw? Why is illegal trade 15% of our global economy? Why do we Westerners consume that which is forbidden? Are we so desperate for something that will give us a buzz, something that will fill the void we all know is there but try to deny? Do we really want to live in dark oblivion until we die?
We, as Westerners, are the consumers. Without our insatiable appetities for illegal goods and services there wouldn’t be global underground trafficking. The mafia would have to fold or find other ways to exploit us.
The worldly ways of trying to contain organized crime are all law enforcement based: beefing up restrictions, investigative techniques, patrols and penalties. (see noted video for more on this)
Sometimes I wonder what God sees…does He see the genesis of this trade springing forth from the hearts of us, we who are made in His image? Does He see the cure to such deadly spiritual pollution embodied in His Son, Jesus? Could the hole we try to fill with illicit drugs, sex and goods be a hole only He can fill? Many souls have stories saying as much, many lives speak to this. Dare we turn? Dare we let go of ways that pollute not just ourselves, but people all over the planet? Dare we, by individually releasing our sick souls into the Hands of the great Healer, discover that pain can be healed and that emptiness is filled with He who fulfills?
I guess we’ll never know until we step into a place of surrender, trust and faith in Him who made us. We get to choose, He gives us that…
Until then, we consume and consume and consume, pollute, pollute and pollute. Others will suffer and die because of our choices to acquire that which destroys our soul. Oh that we could see like He, oh that we could see….Someday we’ll know. On the otherside of death, we will know all the ramifications of our decisions. None will be able to stand, yet some will be saved…by their decision to choose Jesus Christ as Savior and void Filler, they will be saved…
(Contemplative prayer update: ok, am doing better. One night I had some difficulty with a barking dog, but decided after an hour of barking to surrender and invite God into a contemplative dance that included our dear beloved barking Buster–it was lovely.)