Have We Reached the Imperial Tipping Point?

Bloody hands
Photo credit: Luca Rossato

Revelation 18:21-24

Then a strong messenger grabbed a giant stone (it looked like a millstone), threw it into the sea, and said:

Babylon will be thrown down with such violence
that it will be impossible to find.

The music of harps and singers and flutes and trumpets will be silent there.
No artist of any kind will be there.
No useful work will be done there.
No light will shine there.
No weddings will be celebrated there.

Why? Because the multinational corporations and nations were taken in by your siren song,
and the blood of the truth-tellers, the innocent, and the common people is on your hands.

So long as the siren song of empire continues to beguile people, the truth can be quietly swept aside and the innocent quietly killed. The music is too loud. There is too much to distract attention away from the human suffering that is extracted as a part of the cost of keeping the empire’s extravagant lifestyle afloat.

But it’s there. And within every empire’s continuing extraction of the wealth from the nations and people who can least afford it lie the seeds of its own ruin.

Until, suddenly the people say, no more. And the slight of hand that had covered over the dark side of empire is removed revealing what the real cost of imperial indulgence has been all along. And then, silence.

But not before the whole thing sinks like a rock into the abyss.

With the Occupy Wall Street movement taking hold around the globe, we have reason to suspect that we have reached that point. The cost to maintain the facade of empire and to maintain the rulers of the imperial system in their luxury has reached the proverbial tipping point. The denial that the costs to the innocent and to the general public is a huge embarrassment of blood guilt has been – for the moment – swept away.

We shall soon see whether John of Patmos’ prophetic voice will again tell us the truth about our own time.