"Ball of Confusion"
by Ken Painter
As a student of history and government both foreign and domestic, I have a long romance with watching the state of affairs unfold on the world stage. As a child of the '50s my heart was nurtured on post World War II newsreel footage and tales from my dad up and into the realities of the evening news with Walter Cronkite and the civil rights marches and assassinations of the turbulent '60s.
All of this turbulence, of course, became reflected in the music, the fantastic social consciousness of that era. On my birthday in May 1970, The Temptations, one of many great Motown groups, released "
Ball of Confusion (That's What the World is Today)
," and in that song they sang about all the world's illnesses nailing everything from high crime to poverty to drug usage and civil rights and war. In 4 minutes and 6 seconds, they exposed America's wounds for all the world to see. It went to #3 in the US and #7 in the UK. I was a freshmen in college and a political science major.
I mention all of this for a couple of reasons. By the time I became a junior, I'd decided I'd never make it as a lawyer. Plus I had a great desire to educate children with a goal of helping society not to repeat the mistakes of the past. You see, by that time in my life I'd come far enough to understand the vicious cycles of man's inhumanity to man and how these cycles of human history keep repeating over and over. AND OVER.
Well, I tried, and I married a wonderful man, also a teacher who also tried, and yet as I check this world's current state of affairs I remind myself that our efforts have been a drop in the bucket against a global tide of
And so as the prophet Habakkuk wondered aloud to God if this injustice would ever end, so we also do today. Will It? Ever? Or are we stuck in this
of nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom (Matt. 24:7) ad infinitum until the earth simply ceases to exist?
I ask this because Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan." Quite frankly, I've never groaned so much in my life or prayed so intently for a solution to our domestic and worldwide problems. But as in all things, God has assured us through the prophet Habakkuk that according to God's timetable this too shall pass, and in the meantime we need to live by faith.
Last Wednesday while I was sweating to the oldies on a recumbent bike at Cardio Rehab, "
Ball of Confusion
" started playing over the speakers as a part of the rotation, and I began singing along, of course. I was taken aback because the lyrics took me back to my 19-year-old self to a time and place which no longer exists, and yet the conditions described are still so prevalent among us throughout our society and the world today. In six short months this song will be a half century old, and the band plays on.