I saw the light…


This past Saturday in Louisville the city turned out in mass to enjoy “Thunder over Louisville.”  This marks the opening of the Derby Festival, the greatest moment of excess this side of carnival.  Just shy of a million people ventured to the Ohio River to witness an air show & fireworks display.

This was not any ole display of ancient Chinese inspired technology.  Gone are the days of the Hwach’a.  American know how has produced efficient machines of mass destruction.  There were Hornets, Warthogs, Spirits, B1’s, and helicopters that adorned the sky with daring as the earth bound spectators giggled with glee.

For six hours Louisville’s sky was filled with weapons of war.  Crowds below indulged in the worship of American might.  With the crowd whipped up in a frenzy two enormous American flags are delivered via helicopter as 6-8 spotl


ights illuminate them for the chanting crowds below to see.

The Second Street Bridge and downtown skyline are light up to a medley of tunes ranging from country favorites, patriotic tunes, rock n’ roll, and what sounded like the Star Wars Theme song.  The sky erupts with a big bang [not to be confused with the original contended bang of cosmic creation] as thousands of sparks flutter around to create hearts, flowers of various colors and an exurbanite amount of flashes.  It was worse than the Pokemon episode “Computer Warrior Porigon.” 

The gathered thousands oh’g and ah’g at the extreme excess of heavenly manufactured light.  The greatest spectacle lie in the crowds themselves.  With thousands of marauding youngins all parading around seeking that suitable mate for the moment.  Many of them hoped up on high priced potato products and grain alcohol.  One particularly hopped up fella was detained by the LMPD as he accidentally exposed his “Family Guy” clad backside while proclaiming that he needed tatter tots.

The hoopla died down after a 28-minute orgy of light & fire to expose the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the waterfront.  The ants flee the picnic, past the vendors, past the helicopters, around the emergency medical vehicles, directed by the LMPD and local National Guard.  Imagine the city streets filled with a parade of drunken revelers, tired from reveling walk in mass with parents with tuckered kiddos, and sunburned teens trying real hard to swoop in to secure a little nooky before the night is over.  We all went out, to explore the late night version of the city we rest in.  Past the countless displaced folks that sleep on the streets.  The party continued from the car stereos waiting to leave.  The party picked up at McDonald’s.  The flickering lights of the green celebrants pedaling home past the walking mass of Americas best beckons to the economic divide of those that flee west and those that flee east.

I am not opposed to air shows.  I am not opposed to fireworks.  I am opposed to excess.  What do you get when you combine the most badass fireworks display with an equally badass air show?  Thunder!!!

I was impressed with the beauty and grace of the aircraft painting the sky with a ballet of engineering and modern ingenuity.  My father worked for decades in the defense industry.  It was the wings of change that delivered food to our table.  I appreciate and am thankful for them.

I enjoyed watching the fireworks.  I love the pop and crack of explosive lights dancing in the sky.  I appreciate the hard work that goes in to creating a spectacle like Thunder.

I kept returning to the idea that these machines kill people.  They fly over “enemy” target and effectively “neutralize” them.  That is, those that are our enemies are killed.  We are glorifying war with air shows.  There is no difference between the Cold War parades of communists and what took place on Saturday over Louisville.

The maneuvers preformed over Louisville are dangerous and a mortal threat to you if you happen to live in an area full of enemies.  If I were born in Afghanistan and supported the local principality, as I sought a strict religious adherence to the conviction and teachings of my heart I would not oh or ah at the sight of a Hornet soaring over head.  Nor would I stand still with thousands of onlookers at a bridge filled with fire and smoke.  I am thankful that I am an American and do not take my criticism as misguided entitlement.  I understand that “freedom” is not free and the like.

I wonder that if America were really a Christian nation that why does it have a military at all?  If America believed in the Sovereignty of God, then why must we hold responsibility to protect what is Gods? 

I will never witness an air show or fireworks display again with the same eyes.  I support the rights of all of indulge in freedom.  I am cautious to hold freedom as a nation above my freedom in Christ.  I will always be a man of God, follower of Christ before I am an American.  For it is that I am free in my bondage to Christ, so that in my liberated state I may invest in the worldly trappings of this life as manifested in this context of nationalism, which has been bestowed upon me.  True freedom is all-inclusive and never excludes.  We may never know freedom outside the divine presence of our creator.

One thought on “I saw the light…

  1. I was mowing my lawn on Friday as the F-15s were flying overhead. The mundane nature of my task contrasted so completely with the fact that there was a machine of war circling my neighborhood. I just couldn’t get over the idea that were I in Iraq or Afghanistan I would have to wonder whether my life was about to end whenever I saw that plane. I’m still working out exactly how I feel about this. It’s just not everyday that such a visceral element of war is brought into my consciousness.

    As far as why we wage war in a world of which God is in control and present, I’m interested to read Niebuhr’s thoughts on this. Is a just war ever just war?

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