I arrived in Romania Sunday afternoon, and have a class of young people from seven different nations. Several are former students from past schools, so it’s a joy to reconnect and to hear the stories they’re living.
The forty hour trip from Albania was taxing to say the least: a non-air conditioned bus, upright, non-reclining seats, and passengers lighting up along the way! But even worse was the toll of Communism that unfolded in the passing scenery. For the first ninety minutes I counted military bunkers built by the Albania’s former dictator, Envir Hoxha. Stopping at one hundred fifteen, (out of a purported seventy thousand!), I turned to writing in my journal:
“Run down properties, soupy, polluted streams and a littered roadside reel past my bus window. The cities are crowded with decaying Communist apartment blocks, discarded scrap, and half-finished projects. One ten mile stretch of oily, abandoned factories with their overgrown parking lots weighed especially heavy on my spirit.
‘You were never meant to live in such a place,’ the Spirit whispered. ‘This is the work of the enemy, whose purpose it is to destroy the bright, the beautiful, and the glorious. You were meant to live in a world of glory and gardens, beauty and brightness, purity and order. In the same way that glory feeds the human spirit, destruction and disarray burdens the soul and depresses the heart.’ ” Communism is incompatible with human life.
But when the church neglects the message of the kingdom, Marxist ideology surfaces as one of the few human ideas that actually talks about justice, equality, and a future. That’s why I’m here, to point to the real thing: the Kingdom of God.