Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Prepping To Give

I don't watch TV mainly because I can't watch TV. We don't have cable and, with the mountains all around, it would take a pretty expensive antenna for us to be able to pull in any stations from the air. That said, my viewing is limited totally to the internet.

So you can imagine my disappointment (that word is not near strong enough) when I discovered that my favorite shows, "Chopped" and "House Hunters," had been removed from Amazon Prime. For two days I was at a loss until I hit upon an interesting offering on YouTube, "Doomsday Preppers."

"Doomsday Preppers" is a National Geographic documentary series that features  people preparing for an upcoming disaster. This is not just any upcoming disaster, but THE disaster, as in "the end of society as we know it" kind of disaster.

The disaster itself varies from biological warfare to civil war to an electromagnetic pulse that will fry all electronics to massive volcanic eruptions to governmental genocide to total economic collapse to, well, you get the picture. Whatever the disaster, the result will be chaos and starvation and violence and looting and lots and lots of death. And the solution seems to be the same. Store up enough supplies for a number of years, get yourself a bunker and an escape or "bug out" plan, and, by all means, have enough fire power and ammo to defend your turf, your goods, and your family.

I am totally fascinated and, I must say, highly entertained.   The entertaining part is just how creative these people are and to what extent they will go. Most of these people seem to have significant financial resources, a decent amount of free time, and a whole lot of technical know-how to go to the lengths they do.

I am even amused. It cracks me up that they are showing the fruits of their labor on television...to the general public. Showing their secret stash of food and secret stash of 127 weapons and their secret stash of medical equipment and their secret entrance to their secret bunker and where their secret getaway or "bug out" jeep is hidden. Secret, indeed!

As entertaining as it all is, but I also find it quite unsettling.

I know people who I would imagine have done some prepping and Western North Carolina draws plenty of people who want to live "off the grid." The more remote properties for sale around here are sometimes even be advertised as a "prepper's paradise." I have friends who rented such a cabin, complete with hidden bunker and porches on all four sides from which to shoot at your neighbors when they came for your food.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to prepare for an emergency. There is nothing wrong with making sure that you have several weeks or months of food on hand in the event of a natural disaster or economic downturn or whatever worries you most. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be self sufficient and live a sustainable lifestyle, growing your own food and generating your own power and such. There is nothing wrong with having a weapon with which to protect yourself and your family, should it come to that.

But I do have a problem with the attitude of "I am going to stockpile everything that my family will need for life and, when word gets out that I have the goods, I am going to fend off anybody and everybody with bodily harm or death."

I don't know, I guess there just seems to be a "looking out for number one" attitude. As if you are the only one that matters. Your family is the only one that matters. Let's circle the wagons. It's us against them. It's us against everybody.

I'm just not sure that is what Jesus called us to do.

On Sunday evening we sang this incredible hymn at church.

Let Your Heart Be Broken 
Let your heart be broken for a world in need:
Feed the mouths that hunger,
Soothe the wounds that bleed.
Give the cup of water, and the loaf of bread.
Be the hands of Jesus, serving in his stead. 
Here on earth applying principles of love.
Visible expression, God still rules above.
Living illustration of the living word,
To the minds of all who've never seen or heard. 
Blest to be a blessing, privileged to care,
Challenged be the need, apparent everywhere.
Where mankind is wanting, fill the vacant place.
Be the means through which
The Lord reveals His grace. 
Let your heart be tender and your vision clear;
See mankind as God sees, serve Him far and near.
Let your heart be broken by a brother's pain;
Share your rich resources, give and give again.
—Bryan Jeffery Leech

Feed. Soothe. Give. Serve. Care. Fill. Be. See. Share. Give and give again.

I just don't see where it is the godly response to run and hide in a hole when things go wrong. I don't see where it is a godly response to stockpile food that you do not plan on sharing with those who may suffer starvation. I don't see where it is a godly response to shut yourself off from the world and everybody in it and defend your little kingdom with as much firepower as a small army.

Now I do not know where these preppers stand in their relationship with God and so they may not know the concepts of compassion and generosity and selflessness. They may not know the idea of pouring yourself out for another person and giving without expecting anything in return. So perhaps I should not hold them to that standard.

But I do see the gloom and doom attitude among believers all the time and I could see that it would be easy to get caught up in the frenzy. My prayer is that, if you do, if you decide to stockpile food and supplies and protection, make sure you stockpile plenty of encouragement and compassion and mercy and generosity to go with it.

And give and give again.

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