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PASSING THE TORCH: LESSONS FROM CASTRO


In August, President Fidel Castro celebrated his 75th birthday. The

Cuban dictator came to power in 1959, after overthrowing former

dictator, Fulgencio Batista.


On the eve of his birthday, Castro made a powerful gesture. He publicly handed a Cuban flag to the head of Cuba’s communist youth organization. This was more than a photo op. The flag represented A "shining torch" to light the way of communism into the future.


Lucia Newman of CNN’s Havana bureau wrote, "Castro was metaphorically

enacting what he calls his most powerful dream -- that Cuba’s younger

generations take over from him once he’s gone to keep his revolution

alive."


The aging Castro knows that in order to keep his regime alive, he must

pass the torch of communism to the next generation. He knows that if he fails to teach Cuba’s children the communist worldview, his revolution will eventually die out. So Castro has been training his country’s children to pick up the torch of communism and carry it into the future.


We wince at the thought of a strong new generation of young people

working to keep communism in Cuba after Castro’s gone. We’ve seen the

sad results of communism in that country and in other parts of the

world. And yet we can learn something important from Castro’s symbolic

gesture. We can learn that torch- passing is essential for us as

Christians if we are to keep Christianity and a Christian worldview

alive for future generations.


The torch of Christianity shines in the world today because of our

dedicated elders -- parents, grandparents, pastors, theologians,

teachers, youth leaders -- who taught Christian doctrine and Christian

practice to this generation. Now we must be careful to do the same, to

continue the work. Author Tim Kimmel writes, "Faith is the foundation of our legacy. It enables us to give one of the most significant gifts of all to our children."


This, however, goes beyond teaching our children Bible stories and right doctrine. We must teach them to think. The world is an increasingly complex place. We face questions in bioethics -- and now terrorism -- entertainment, career, and sexuality, to name only a few, that could not have been imagined a generation ago. What will today’s infants or teenagers face when they’re our age? If we merely teach them what to think about today’s issues, we will not effectively prepare them to creatively think about tomorrow’s. They need to learn first how to think -- specifically, how to think biblically about all the questions of life.


When we teach children the Word of God and its ramifications for life,

we leave them a great inheritance. And children who are nurtured in the faith usually grow up to be adults who keep the faith.


What a challenge. And it’s not only a challenge for Christian parents,

but for all of us as we take advantage of opportunities to carry God’s

Word and a biblical worldview into the future.


Fidel Castro is working hard to make sure communism is passed on to a

new generation of Cubans. How much more should we make sure that Christ and a biblical worldview will be passed on to a new generation here.


("Passing the Torch to Future Generations: Lessons from a Dictator," by Charles Colson. Sources: CNN.COM: "Castro marks 75th birthday, firmly in charge, CNN Havana Bureau, from Lucia Newman, August 13, 2001.)

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