Wake Up Church

Rich Iott, the “Tea Party” Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Ohio, has some ‘splaining to do. It seems that Iott spends his spare time involved World War II military re-enactments... as a Nazi. He and his buddies dress up in Nazi uniforms and pretend to be Nazi soldiers of the 5th SS Panzerdivision, Wiking. There are pictures of him all over the group’s web site dressed up as his SS Nazi alter-ego. Now he defends this as a harmless hobby and historical exercise to educate people about the life of German soldiers during World War II. His group, of course, disavows any support of Nazi ideology; they don't condone what the Nazis did during World War II.  But they also fail to really mention anything the Nazis did-- like the atrocities and war crimes that historians say were committed by the very Nazi division that Iott and his buddies are portraying.

Harmless fun? Historical curiosity? Or disturbing fascination with one of the darker sides of the dark side of human history? It seems to me that it is incredibly difficult to associate yourself with Nazis and glorify Nazis while completely distancing yourself from what the Nazi’s thought and what the Nazi’s did. The argument seems to go something like, “I don’t believe what these guys believed and I don’t condone what these guys did-- I just like to walk and talk and dress like them.” You can argue that, but I’m not buying it. To a degree, we become partners with the people we emulate. So if you really want to be play the part of a patriot, then dressing up like a Nazi is a bad idea. But hey, that’s just me.

In our reading for today from Ephesians 5, Paul warns Christians against becoming partners in the sinful, pagan world (5:7). We have been rescued from the world of darkness; the last thing we should want to do is live like that world.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians 5:8-14)

If we are going to be part of Christ, then we can’t emulate the sinful world. If we are going to walk in the light, then we can’t be part of the darkness. So Paul tells us to “be very careful, then, how you live.” (Eph 5:15).

The point of this post isn’t “Nazis are bad.” I would hope that everyone would know that—well, evidently not everyone. The point is, “Once you know what the dark side looks like, then don’t emulate that behavior.”

Wake up, Church! (v. 14)