Chaordic Age

Chaordic Age October 2020

From an article by Lt. Col F.G. Hoffman ,USMCR
Transforming for the Chaordic Age, 2002

The Colonel said: “The emerging security environment will be a Chaordic Age where chaos and order exist simultaneously with neither dominating. The product will be pervasive tension and constant conflict.”

I submit that this secular analysis of modern warfare is, as well, a vision of spiritual warfare today.   Though the eternal battle for our souls has always been there, it has never been more visible.   It is auditory, kinesthetic, and gustatory, too. There are two considerations here; the first being that perhaps we are just more aware of it because of our heightened sense of the spiritual nature. And secondly, that evil has increased its intensity and added more techniques to its methods and strategies.

The Colonel also said: “Preventing such conflicts or limiting their impact from spilling over into chaos will be the principal aim of U.S. national security planning for the foreseeable future.”

We cannot, as individuals, keep evil from spilling over. I would say that there exists a fault in our logic when we think that we can. Evil cannot be legislated away, wished away, prayed away, charity’d away, fed away, or paid away. That is because its residence is within the human heart.

What we charitize, pray for, and legislate can create an environment for changing hearts but only indirectly. That is why the governmentalization of charity has not worked.   Through taxation, we have almost removed the middle class’s ability to contribute to charities of choice.   Now the funds may end up in the same categories (feeding the poor, helping the widow, equalizing justice) as Jesus instructed us to do, but the effect of reducing evil is removed from the process because it withdraws gratitude from the recipient and replaces it with a sense of entitlement.

Though we do not seek gratitude from the beneficiaries as compensation, the charity given from human to human engenders a sense in the recipient that he or she must somehow change to make up for being unable to contribute. They must become better at caring for themselves. The humbling experience of taking charity can slowly become an intention to seek purpose and an ability to give back. I have lived this, so I know. When I received unemployment funds, my attitude was completely different than when my friend Ted loaned me $200. I felt compelled to pay my friend Ted back and hardly anything like that entered my mind toward the EDD Unemployment Division of the government.

Even though the money ends up in the same place, my sense of charitable giving from disposable income compels me to send $100 to Hurricane Laura relief. Giving that way is very different from the threat of law which requires my payment of taxes.

But I digress. Chaos and Order live side by side. Today we are in this chaordic state. On the one hand we have the order of the bright Marathon Day in Boston with hundreds of volunteers, water stations, cleared/closed streets.   Beside them is a small group planting bombs along the marathon route to terrorize those who just came out to enjoy the day. Bombs ravage the market place in Israel where families go to shop for their groceries. Bombs inhabit the subway in London as people commute to work.     And the next week, life returns to normal. At another city’s marathon, people cheer and shop, while others jump on the train to go to their jobs.

So it is with the Spiritual War within each of us.   If you see nothing but chaos, I can guarantee you will become depressed and ineffective. You will not see where you can make a difference. If you see nothing but order, then your eyes are not open to the evil and the needs of others. This is a Pollyanna happiness that is not based in reality. We must be realistic as Christians and dwell in both realms at once. We help the victims of chaos while bringing order to our world through God’s work.   We in America are uniquely qualified to do both. Ours blessings still include the strongest economy in the world coupled with the most stable form of government. We can, as the Colonel puts it, limit the impacts of conflict and keep them from becoming chaos.

No matter what, we must first pray. Then we must contribute our time and/or our funds.   Best of all, we must share with others that God is in charge despite the conflicts we see.

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